Business News of Friday, 11 January 2019
The Social Security and National Trust (SSNIT) has increased the monthly amount paid pensioners enrolled in the scheme by 11 percent, one percent higher than the rate government increased the minimum wage for 2019.
Out of the 11 percent increment, 9 percent is a fixed rate for all pensioners, whereas the remaining 2 percent which translates into GH¢15.89 will be added to pensioners in the low-income earning group only.
What this essentially means is that the least amount a pensioner will receive beginning January 14, 2019—as they are paid every 14th day of every month—will be GH¢300, compared to GH¢287.55 for workers using the new minimum wage as the basis of calculation.
The cost burden that this year’s indexation will impose on the Trust is estimated at GH¢212million.
Speaking to the media in Accra, Director General of the Trust Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang assured pensioners that his outfit has the needed financial muscle to effect the increment made for the year.
“The Trust will be liquid enough to pay this. In arriving at this conclusion, we take into account liquidity and sustainability.
“We look at what our forecasted receipt will be; we look at how much we are going to pay and what we are going to get from our investee companies through dividends, and we put it all together to see whether we can pay whatever amount we come up with. So, with the new indexation, part of it is going to come from contributions and part from investments.
“The object of indexation is to make sure that pensioners’ purchasing power will increase. Two factors which affect this is the general level of price increase in goods and services; and the law also enjoins us to take into consideration the salary increases of working people as a guide in determining the indexation,” he said.
As part of the programme, SSNIT was presented with cheques from two of its shareholders. The two companies, Ghana Agro Foods Company Ltd. (GAFCO) and Gulf Consolidated Ltd., paid GH¢400,000 and GH¢712,509 respectively as their dividend.
In the case of GAFCO, this is the first time it has paid dividend to the Trust since it acquired a 40 percent stake in the company in 2005.
With Gulf Consolidated Ltd, for the past 13 years it has always paid dividends annually to SSNIT for the 42 percent stake it owns in the company.
Overall, the Trust’s investment portfolio registered a 5.77 percent real return in 2017, above a target of 3.25 percent as against -5.93 percent in 2016.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang assured all stakeholders that management of the Trust is committed to restructuring its investments and invest more in low -risk but high-yielding investment portfolios.