A Nigerian-based Ghanaian lawyer, Kofi Atiemo-Gyan has called for the independence of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to ensure efficiency.
He noted that the excessive government control over the management of the Trust was negatively affecting its operations.
Mr Atiemo-Gyan could not fathom why after several years of contributing to the scheme, most Ghanaian retirees do not have shelter of their own but put up with family members.
‘Invariably there is no single worker who has enjoyed the benefits of social security. When workers retire, they hardly benefit from these contributions,’ he said.
Mr Atiemo-Gyan indicated that ‘what pains me is that the unclaimed benefits which accrue to the Social Security system can even provide essential services for this country, especially light, but here we are the government sees SSNIT as a conduit where it gets money from without even the approval of workers.
According to Barrister Atiemo-Gyan, ‘I don’t know where these monies go; after two-three months you see them on the street begging for food to eat.
‘We have reached a stage where SSNIT can even pay socials to those workers who were retrenched through no fault of theirs.’
He noted ‘it has reached a stage where SSNIT must be made independent, all the appointments there are political.’
‘It is sad to note that workers have representatives from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on the SSNIT Board but invariably government decides to take money from this place without even the approval of the Board,’ he noted.
The lawyer noted that there is an existing law which makes it possible for certain unclaimed SSNIT benefits to be paid into government coffers at the Central Bank, but alleged that those monies never get there.
Making SSNIT independent of government control would make it vibrant, Mr Atiemo-Gyan indicated.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu
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