Africa-Press – Ghana. Accra, March 24, GNA – The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says it targets to rope onto the scheme one million contributors from the informal sector of the economy to expand coverage.
“We have set onto ourselves an aggressive target of enrolling one million people onto the scheme one year after we have rolled out this campaign,” Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, the Director General of SSNIT, said.
He said this at a stakeholders’ engagement on the necessity to help expand and deepen coverage of the Basic National Social Security Scheme to self-employed workers.
The target is also in line with Section 30(3) of the Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766 as amended by Act 883), that says: “Self-employed persons who opt to join the scheme shall pay a monthly contribution to the social security scheme.”
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang told the Ghana News Agency on the side-lines that: “It is a very aggressive target because people need to buy into the idea and disabuse the notion that giving their money to SSNIT is a waste, particularly for the informal sector.”
Data from SSNIT indicate that there are close to 1.8 million active contributors to the Scheme, with only about 14,314, representing one per cent, coming from the informal sector, whiles the private and public sectors contribute 64.5 per cent and 34.7 per cent, respectively.
The Ghana Statistical Service 2021 Population and Housing Census Report also estimated that the sector had 11.5 million workforce. Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said it had become necessary to extend coverage to informal sector workers not only to increase active membership and contributor base but also to ensure that every worker in Ghana enjoyed social protection.
The scheme, among other things, helps to reduce poverty and overdependence on benefactors during old age as well as providing cushion for low-income earners.
Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, who chaired the engagement, lauded the SSNIT Management for the initiative to extend coverage to self-employed workers, saying: “This is one of the best things that can come from SSNIT.”
It was a great leap to attaining SSNIT’s mandate in totality as it had not been the case all the years considering the 12 million workforce in the informal sector, he said.
Considering the unique benefits the Scheme provided to members, it was important for the self-employed to join the First Tier, he said. Mr Baffour-Awuah said a recent study the Ministry conducted indicated that most workers used their disposal income on their aged parents.
“Indeed, if we want to make sure that we all have healthy living even during our old age, then the best way is to ensure we are put on social security.”
The SSNIT Scheme pays Emigration benefits to non-Ghanaian members who are leaving Ghana permanently. Within the first three weeks of March, 2022 the Trust paid a total of GH¢274.66 million to some 227,128 pensioners. The highest pension earner receives GH¢142,564.97 per month, while the lowest-earning pensioner gets GH¢300.00.