Measures taken by the Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor-led Board of Trustees of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and management saved GH¢246 million for the country.
Speaking to the DAILY GUIDE about the journey of the trust, the Director-General, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, recalled how upon discovering anomalies in the commercial and real estate investments before taking over the direction of the trust, Dr. Addo-Kufuor, who is the Board Chairman, ordered an audit.
It was this audit which yielded the GH¢247 million for the trust, he said, adding that but for the intervention, the trust was listing dangerously in the investments it had made in some business sectors without any dividend.
SSNIT’s exposure in the real estate sector and other commercial ventures were a matter of concern to the board and management, Dr. Tenkorang said, explaining that “we were able to renegotiate some of the projects, and out of that we were able to save about GH¢246 million, which went back into the kitty of the trust for the benefit of contributors.”
A quarter of investments made by SSNIT, he told DAILY GUIDE, was into real estate and commercial properties contracts, for which he went on, were awarded before 2016.
Management, he said, decided to explore possibilities of curtailing SSNIT’s exposure to the real estate sector to something in the region of ten per cent, adding “much as it is a tough task for us because of the nature of the investments made in the past, we are working around the clock to get there and we will.”
Post-2016 investments, he said, were intended to accomplish undone projects, some of them half-way and could as he put it, not be sold at their current state or were totally ignored because of the losses that would have been incurred.
The Osei Tutu II Housing Estate is now being sold to recoup some money for SSNIT, he said. Another project, he said, is the Borteyman Housing Project, now selling at rates considered valuable to the trust.
On listed equities, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang said that until 2018 and 2019 when the banks were asked to recapitalise, they were returning good dividends to the trust.
He is hopeful that when normalcy is restored to the financial sector, the trust will start reaping dividends from its investments.
He expressed confidence in the stock market into which the trust is involved, and said “it will bounce back and the trust will yield its expected dividends.”
He also assured pension contributors to be rest assured that their investments are not only intact but secure.
In the past four years, he said the trust had worked hard to delete ghost names from its payroll, an exercise which he added saved more than GH¢144 million at the end of 2020.
Interventions such as biometric verification of pensioners, he went on, has helped in making the payroll clean, and announced that SSNIT had settled fully GH¢7.65 million bonds it purchased from Kings College as at February 17, 2021.
By A.R. Gomda