Dr John Ofori- Tenkorang, the Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), has encouraged self-employed workers to enroll onto the SSNIT Pension Scheme to secure a better retirement plan and help prevent old-age poverty.
According to the SSNIT Boss, when there is old-age poverty, it affects the whole country. “So, it is better to put insurance in place while we are working, then when that salary or income disappears in old age, it will be replaced for us,” he said.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang made this known when speaking to leaders of some self-employed groups on the SSNIT Self-Employed Enrollment Drive (SEED) project, organised in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang iterated that many people at their old age would have to depend on their families and other benefactors to survive. A situation which he described as worrying.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang noted that the situation compelled the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to come out with programmes like the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty to support the vulnerable, he said, and that SSNIT was working to change the narrative and offer all Ghanaian workers dignified pension.
Meanwhile, statistics indicated that about 3.2 million Ghanaian workers, between ages 15 to 45 years, were self-employed and there is the need to rope them in.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang noted that the SEED initiative is making progress because when it started last year, it had only 14,000 self-employed on the scheme but now we have over 50,000. “But we still have a long way to go,” he added.
Mr Joshua Ansah, the Deputy Secretary- General of TUC, on his part, stated that the self-employed are the backbone of the Ghanaian economy. However, he said they have been left out of the SSNIT insurance package, over the years.
The Initiative, he said, would go a long way to offer workers in the informal sector decent pension, he said, and called for intensified education to get more people onto the scheme.
Ms Rita Ateekema, a member of the Ghana Hairdressers and Beauticians Association, lauded the efforts of SSNIT and TUC for engaging the informal sector on the SEED initiative, and said she would share the knowledge acquired with her members and encourage them to join the scheme for decent pension.
The SEED Initiative
The SEED initiative, being carried out across the country, was an expansion of the social security scheme to extend coverage to all workers.
Informal sector stakeholders, such as the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, the butchers, dressmakers, hairdressers and beauticians and barbers associations as well as musicians and persons with disability, among others, participated.
The SSNIT, under the SEED initiative, was poised to redefining social security in the country and offer hope to informal sector workers, who had been largely left behind, that they could retire in comfort and dignity just like those in the formal sector.
The private sector comprised about 80 per cent of the workforce in Ghana but only 600,000 workers had any form of retirement insurance cover, which he described as unacceptable.
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