Business News of Monday, 17 June 2019
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has said it has cleaned the pensioners’ payroll of 6,339 ‘ghost’ pensioners which saved the nation GH¢43 million as of April, 2019.
This formed part of an exercise to uncover fictitious deals in the operations of the scheme over the years.
The Director-General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, made this known at a SSNIT/Trades Union Congress (TUC) educational forum in Cape Coast last Thursday.
The programme was part of a nation-wide forum aimed at promoting knowledge on the scheme, empowering organised labour as peer educators on the scheme, as well as demystifying some of the issues surrounding benefits computation and compliance enforcement.
It was also in compliance with the directive by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to SSNIT to intensify public education on the scheme to ensure that contributors understood how their benefits were calculated.
The Director-General said SSNIT was the only institution in the country that guaranteed benefits ranging from old age retirement pensions, old-age lump sums, invalidity pensions and survivor’s benefit for a sign-on contribution amount of just eleven per cent of a monthly salary.
He said the commercial premium that would be required to underwrite the provision in those range of benefits exceeded 11 percent of a basic monthly stressing that “in doing these, the Trust is mindful of the sustainability of the scheme.”
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said external actuarial estimates suggested that the contribution rate necessary to pay benefits over the next 50 years and to accumulate assets representing three years of total expenditure was 19.2 percent.
That, he said, was substantially higher than the current contribution rate of 11 per cent and, therefore, underscored the need to look at the prevailing pension law governing the operations of the scheme.
“In doing this, we must consider factors such as, improvement in average life expectancy after retirement, the use of the average of the best three years’ salary and the contribution rate of 11 percent,” the Director-General added.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said currently, the SSNIT’s minimum monthly pension was GH¢300, which was more than the monthly equivalent of the national daily minimum wage of GH¢287.55.
“The immediate observation is that SSNIT is subsidising pensions for a group of pensioners whose salaries were woefully low when they were in active service” he said.
The Pensions Manager of SSNIT, Mr Joseph Poku, said three factors were considered in the computation of benefits, namely the age at which one retired, the average of the best three years’ basic salary on which a person contributed and the number of months of contributions.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Joshua Ansah, said the concerns by workers on pensions and benefits made it important to engage SSNIT for clarifications.
The Central Regional Chairman of the TUC, Mr Frank Odoom, expressed delight that “wrong perceptions about SSNIT and the fact that SSNIT is cheating us has been cleared.”