The total payment made to pensioners under the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension scheme has declined by GH¢7 million in November 2020. This represents a 3.3 percentage point decline over the one-month period.
According to separate statements issued by SSNIT on their official Twitter handle and sighted by the Vaultz News, a total of GH¢206 million was paid to pensioners in November 2020 as compared to GH¢213 million paid in October 2020.
The number of pensioners paid between October and November also declined by 13, 000, from 223,000 in October to 210,000 in November.
It can be observed that the number of pensioners keeps on declining. In August, a total of GH¢209 million was paid to 219,000 pensioners. Also, in July a total of GH¢59.6 million was paid to 19, 918 pensioners as a difference in past credit.
Even though SSNIT has not indicated the reason for the decline, it could be a result of the deletion of ‘ghost names’ from the records of the scheme. Earlier this year, the management of SSNIT indicated that effective February 1, 2020, it will delete the names of pensioners who have not gone through the SSNIT biometric registration.
The SSNIT biometric registration was introduced in 2014 but SSNIT indicated that there were still members who are yet to enroll despite several reminders.
About a fortnight ago, the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, indicated that SSNIT has saved an amount of GH¢130 million in the last three years through the cleaning of the pensioner’s payroll.
He said this was done by deleting ‘ghost names’ on the payroll list every year.
“Our current pension scheme says when you are 75 years and you pass away, then SSNIT doesn’t have any further obligation towards you or your survivors. Before that age, if there is an untimely death, there is some residual amount that would be paid to your survivors.
“We send the pension amount every month straight to the bank accounts so if you are above 75 years and you pass away, if we do not know that you have passed away, we will just keep sending it every month because we had no way of knowing. And if the survivors know that after 75 years they have nothing left to get from us, then it is in their interest not to tell us,” he explained.
He said SSNIT, therefore, introduced a system that required pensioners who are above 75 years to show up at any of their offices nationwide to authenticate themselves biometrically every year.
“This can be done in any of our branches nationwide. If for some reason you cannot come and you call us, we can even come to you and this has helped eliminate the ghost names.
“This exercise alone has saved us about GH¢130 million since we started three years ago. This is money that we would have been paying to illegitimate people”, he said.
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is a statutory public Trust charged under the National Pensions Act, 2008 Act 766 with the administration of Ghana’s Basic National Social Security Scheme.
As the operator of the First Tier of the Three-Tier Pension Scheme, it replaces part of lost income of workers in Ghana due to Old Age, Invalidity, or Death of a member where lump sum payment is made to dependants. It is also responsible for the payment of the Emigration benefit to a non-Ghanaian member who is leaving Ghana permanently.
SSNIT has an active membership of over 1.6 million and currently, over GH¢250 million is spent funding pension payments to the over 212,000 pensioners per month.
SSNIT, one of government’s agencies that has contributed immensely to the welfare of pensioners as well as the country at large. It has invested hugely in housing and its contribution to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) cannot be overestimated.
For instance, as part of the efforts to lessen the burden on the government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, SSNIT donated GH¢500.000.00 to the COVID-19 Trust Fund.