The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Ghana, has launched a drive to give benefits and related advantages to self-employed workers in the informal sector.
The Self-Employed Enrollment Drive (SEED) initiative aims to fulfill the Trust’s (SSNIT) mandate to provide pension coverage to all workers, particularly the self-employed.
In order to achieve this goal, the Trust held extensive meetings with a wide range of stakeholders across the country in 2022 to get their support for how self-employed people can also get a pension when they retire.
According to Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, Director-General of SSNIT, the Trust’s management has learned valuable lessons from these stakeholder engagements, and those lessons have helped shape the rollout. He was certain that self-employed workers would happily join the SSNIT Scheme if they were made aware of the benefits it provides.
“If we had communicated the unparalleled value and benefits the SSNIT Scheme offers, not only would we see an improvement in self-compliance in the formal sector, but we would definitely have had more than just two percent of our active contributor base being self–employed”.
“SEED will help redefine social security in this country and give hope to the self–employed; the hope that they can also retire in dignity and comfort. We are going to rely heavily on the strengths of the Tier One product and once we have convinced the self–employed to look at SSNIT again, we will get them to sign up”.
“They will sign up because what we are offering is an opportunity for them to insure their incomes so it can be replaced when they are old or become invalid and cannot work again. The same Scheme will also pay a benefit to their survivors if they pass on”, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang stated.
The SSNIT Scheme currently covers approximately 1.9 million of the country’s estimated 10 million workers. Only 32,000 of the 1.9 million active SSNIT contributors are self-employed, or about 2%. This means that the majority of self-employed workers would have to rely on the government or family and friends for financial support when they retire.
“This unbalanced coverage of workers is a sad commentary of our social protection system and we have a responsibility to change this narrative. The SSNIT Scheme is not for formal sector employees only, it is for all workers in Ghana. Indeed, our highest earning pensioner who receives GHS 169,752.89 as monthly pension was a businessman”, the Director-General of SSNIT asserted.
He asked independently employed professionals who have not enrolled under the scheme to visit the closest SSNIT office, contribute routinely on their right income using SSNITPay – an electronic payment platform, through mobile money and debit cards.
According to a report, only 11% of the country’s two million people over 60 receive regular pensions. This indicates that caring for elderly relatives and parents is a significant burden for many active-duty military personnel. This pattern is supposed to go on if prompt advances are not taken to address it.
This is a big step SSNIT is taking to give benefits cover to self-employed persons in Ghana. As a result, Trust members should update the beneficiaries’ records on a regular basis.
The majority of people fail to update their records after registration, according to SSNIT. Consequently, people register early in their lives, only to discover that neither their spouse nor children were nominated upon their death.
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT or the Trust) is a statutory public institution charged under the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766 as amended by Act 883) with the administration of Ghana’s Basic National Social Security Scheme.
Currently, the Trust is the largest non-bank financial institution in Ghana. Its mandate is to cater for the First-Tier of the Three-Tier Pension Scheme.
The SSNIT Scheme replaces part of the lost income of Members due to Old Age, Invalidity or upon the death of a Member, where nominated dependant(s) receive a lump sum payment. It also pays Emigration benefits to non-Ghanaian Members who are leaving Ghana permanently.
The SSNIT Pension Scheme has an active membership of over 1.9 million. In April 2023, the Trust paid a total of GH¢365.01 million to some 235,617 pensioners. The highest pension earner receives GH¢169,725.89 per month, while the lowest-earning new pensioner gets GH¢300.00.
The groups include the National Association of Beauticians and Hairdressers (NABH), National Association of Hair Braiders, National Association Tailors & Hairdressers, National Association Tailors & Hairdressers, National Association Tailors & Hairdressers, Regional Suame zone and the National Association Tailors & Hairdressers.