In a landmark endeavor to expand the scope of social security coverage, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has launched its Mobile Service Week in Sunyani, the vibrant Bono Regional capital.
This ambitious initiative, spearheaded by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, seeks to encourage workers in the informal sector to actively consider joining the SSNIT scheme as a proactive measure to safeguard their future.
Minister Baffour-Awuah, addressing a diverse and attentive audience, emphasized the pivotal role played by SSNIT as a reliable and resilient entity. He underscored the legal mandate that SSNIT holds to protect the interests of Ghanaian workers.
Notably, the minister highlighted the trust’s engagement in viable and prudent investments, generating consistent and profitable income that stands as a testament to its sustainability. The minister passionately called on the self-employed, urging them to recognize the value of SSNIT membership and contribute collectively to building a robust pension industry for the nation.
While acknowledging the fundamental nature of social security as a human right, Baffour-Awuah lamented the glaring coverage gap, particularly in the informal sector. In a commendable gesture, he applauded the ongoing initiatives by SSNIT management to enroll the self-employed, emphasizing the crucial need for sustained efforts in this endeavor.
Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, the Director General of SSNIT, shared critical statistics, revealing that only 60% of the 3.2 million formal sector workers are currently covered under the SSNIT scheme. This gap, he elucidated, can be attributed to the pervasive misconception among the self-employed that SSNIT exclusively caters to formal sector workers.
This misunderstanding, he said led to a mere 1.8% active membership within the scheme, depriving an estimated 9.9 million working individuals of their rightful access to social security benefits.
Public Education Efforts
To tackle this challenge head-on, the government, through SSNIT, has intensified its public education efforts, aiming to enlighten citizens about their inherent rights to social security. The launch of the Self Employed Enrolment Drive campaign stands out as a cornerstone of these efforts, reaching out to both formal and informal self-employed individuals.
Creating accessibility, SSNIT has strategically positioned a network of 74 service locations across the 16 regions, offering a range of services, including the issuance of statements of account, registration of employers and workers, and streamlined benefits processing.
Adding her voice to the chorus of support, the Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu Banahene, urged SSNIT to actively dispel the prevailing perception that its benefits are inferior to those attainable through individual business endeavors. This underscores the campaign’s imperative to not only increase enrollment but also to elevate public understanding of the tangible benefits associated with SSNIT membership.
The SSNIT Mobile Service Week represents a monumental stride towards creating awareness and inclusivity in Ghana’s social security landscape. As the campaign unfurls its banner across the nation, it is poised to bridge the existing coverage gap, ensuring that more Ghanaians, especially those in the informal sector, can reap the enduring benefits of a secure and well-managed pension system.
The collaborative efforts of the government, SSNIT management, and the public are paramount in laying the foundation for a more resilient and inclusive social security framework for the nation’s workforce.