Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, the Director-General of Social Security National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has disclosed that it retrieved GHC 132 million from 2,272 cases filed at the law court within the first half of 2023.
The Director-General of SSNIT explained that the cases were related to employers who failed to honour statutory social security obligations on behalf of their employees. He indicated that as at the end of 2022, there were 83,773 active establishments on the SSNIT database with 63,667 complying with social security obligations, representing a 76 per cent compliance rate.
Despite the success, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang noted that resorting to prosecution to collect revenue was not the focus of SSNIT as the organisation prioritised engagement with stakeholders to ensure that the benefit of the SSNIT scheme is well understood and accepted. “Most of the contributions that we collect are not through prosecutions, because employers willingly do the right thing and pay the monies as we ‘don’t have to go and chase them,” he said.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang asserted that employers must be interested in having friends and relatives who are engaged in the informal sector to join SSNIT through the Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED) to secure their income.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang urged Ghanaians to think of SSNIT as an income replacement scheme and not an investment scheme that would in the future provide about 60 per cent of their income when they are no longer gainfully employed.
Mr Alex Frimpong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Employers Association, said the future of SSNIT pension scheme in the country needed to be situated within the context of increasing life expectancy and cutting down high unemployment among the youthful population.
Mr Alex Frimpong highlighted the need for conversation on the phenomenon among stakeholders to prevent any unforeseen circumstances that could erode the gains made in securing the future of citizens through pension schemes.
SSNIT Encourages Workers to Negotiate for Better Basic Income
Meanwhile, Mr Charles Akwei Garshong, Public Affairs Manager, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), also urged workers to negotiate for a basic income component of their salaries which outweighs their allowances.
Doing so, Akwei Garshong said, would enable them to have better pension benefits. He observed that most employers would prefer paying low basic income and higher allowances to employees to avoid paying higher social security contribution for employees which is calculated on basic income.
“If the basic is small, it simply means your pension will be small because when we are calculating your pension, we will not take into consideration the allowances that was declared for you,” Mr Charles Akwei Garshong said.
Mr Charles Akwei Garshong noted that registered contributors are to declare a monthly salary, and pay 13.5 per cent of the declared salary either on a monthly, quarterly, semi- annual or annual basis.
Mr Charles Akwei Garshong noted that the misconception associated with the retirement benefits of contributors had been caused by the lack of understanding of how retirement benefits were computed. He encouraged workers to regularly check on their mandatory contributions to ensure that employers did not shortchange them when they retired.
The Public Affairs Manager urged contributors not to hesitate on drawing the attention of SSNIT when they identify any discrepancies such as non-payment of contributions by employers or under payment of contributions based on declared salaries of employees. “While in service, check your statements periodically. Once everything is correct and you retire today, you have within two weeks to get your pension,” he said