The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has held its 7th Quadrennial Delegates Conference in the Brong Ahafo Regional capital Sunyani, under the theme: “Consolidating the gains of 50 years of Social Security in Ghana –The Role of Stakeholders.”
Director General of SSNIT, Mr. Ernest Thompson addressing the ceremony said Currently, SSNIT is the largest public non-bank financial institution in Ghana, and in terms of its impact on its beneficiaries, Social Security has significantly reduced poverty among the elderly who rely on Social either directly or indirectly.
He said SSNIT has penetrated the entire fabric of the country’s development, through its spectrum of investment in Manufacturing, Housing Development, Commercial Properties, Educational facilities, the Student’s Loan, Energy Sector, Industrial Estates, Hospitality, Transportation, Health Centers, Specialist/Mother and Child, Hospitals, Multi-storey Car Parks, Abattoirs and Markets.
“Arguably, there are two things that stand out about SSNIT-the SSNIT brand and our network. From a department jointly supervised under SIC and the Department of Pensions in the Ministries, SSNIT now has 50 Branches, 8 Area Offices and a workforce of over 2,000. It is also the custodian of 150 pensioners, whose number keeps increasing over a thousand a month, 1.2 million active workers and 40,000 employers. SSNIT is not in the business of hand-wringing or pessimism. We believe in our brand and act accordingly. SSNIT will pursue its aim of ensuring the future of workers in Ghana basic retirement security.”
“Demographic data indicates that the proportion of the elderly as a component of national population is increasing rapidly. That is, the world is experiencing a revolution in longevity and the most serious consequences of the ageing population are yet to be experienced by developing countries like Ghana. When we commenced the pension scheme in 1991 the number of pensioners on our payroll was 971. as at the end of 2014, there were over 140,000 pensioners whose monthly pension payment was about GHC 60 million. This state of affairs would present many challenges to society and government if appropriate policy options, mechanisms and measures are not put in place today.”
He added that, Pension is a means by which society and government try to smoothen incomes of pensioners for them to be able to maintain decent living standards during the years after pension.
Mr. Ernest Thompson stated that there is the need to inculcate the spirit of Social Security in the youth of this country from their infancy and in their educational curriculum. “These are the future leaders and they must know their rights. That is, every worker needs social security. Therefore, Social Security is a right for every worker in this country. In order to consolidate the achievement of the turbulent half a century journey to benefit all of us.”
He also called on all stakeholders to get involved and put their shoulder to plough.
“Government, Labour, Employers, Workers and Regulator-NPRA must play their statutory roles. The worker must be interested in social security. As part of SSNIT’s sensitization program, public education has already been on its agenda. And SSNIT will continue to do that as part of its ‘Stakeholder role’.”
Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Hon. Eric Opoku said it is a collective responsibility of all citizens to secure the future of their workforce.
“The comfort of pensioners’ impacts positively on the psyche of workers who are still in active service because it motivates them to selflessly give off their best towards the development of the nation.”
According to him, SSNIT in its 50 years of operations has exhibited a very high sense of professionalism by ensuring the progressive introduction of fast and reliable systems for pensioners to access their claims, “However, in view of the ever changing pace of global technology, the Trust needs to devise very enduring and secure systems to improve upon its operations.”
“I wish to reiterate that the government appreciates the important role SSNIT plays in the socio-economic development of the country. Indeed, we recognize and appreciate the strategic importance of SSNIT as a driving force with the potential to mobilize resources towards the total expansion of the economy which would lead to increase in tax revenue for the state, the creation of more jobs, a higher GPD, increase in per capita income and above all, an improvement in the standard of living of our people.”
Compiled By: Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku