Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang addressing the gathering
AS PART of efforts to ensure every Ghanaian worker whether in the formal or informal sector, enjoys pensions after retirement, the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has launched this year’s mobile service week in Sunyani.
It was also aimed at reaching out to more self-employed workers in the country to contribute to their pensions under the theme, ‘Choose your tomorrow; Sign up for SEED from SSNIT Today.’
Addressing a gathering after a float through some principal streets of Sunyani to create awareness on the service week slated for 20-24th November, Director General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, said of 6.7 million informal sector workers in Ghana, only 57,000 representing 1.8 percent, were covered with pensions.
“Also of the 6.7 million self-employed workers in the country, about 3.1 million are between the ages of 15 and 45 years and are eligible to enroll onto the scheme. It is these categories of people we are working assiduously to enroll through the mobile service outreach programme done every year,” he noted.
Giving more statistics, he said 60 percent of the 3.2 million workers in the former sector were, however, covered under the scheme.
Dr. Tenkorang indicated that though the number of self-employed on the SSNIT seemed to be low, the figure represented over 300 percent increase from a figure of 14,000 last year since the trust launched the mobile service week last year.
“This means the message is getting down well with the public. Our goal is to change the trend by vigorously enrolling more eligible self-employed,” he noted.
He continued, “It doesn’t matter whether you are a carpenter, mason, fitter, hairdresser, a truck pusher or whatever work you do to make a living, you can still contribute to the scheme to protect the security of your pensions when you are no longer work in active service.
“We want to make social security accessible to all. We have eight offices, 51 branch offices and 27 day offices throughout the country so I urge all self-employed persons to walk into any of these offices and register. Do so by asking any question concerning the operations of our work.”
Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang also briefed the informal workers on other benefits they would enjoy apart from receiving monthly pensions such as the national health insurance, benefits during incapacitation as a result of accident or sickness, as well as others when they enroll with the trust.
On his part, Ignatius Baffour Awuah ,who is also the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, said research had shown that the life expectancy of the Ghanaian had increased thus making people live longer than before, but only a few were on pensions.
“According to research out of less than 10 million workers in Ghana, only 2 million workers were with one form of pension or the other. Lots of people don’t have pensions so they find it difficult to live that is why I am happy with SSNIT for finding innovative means through mobile technology to enroll more workers in the informal sector on the trust to enjoy pension during retirement,” he added.
Mr. Baffour Awuah further reiterated that the law made it compulsory for employers to pay pensions for their employees saying that was being adhered to but lamented that artisans had no such opportunity hence the need to find innovative means to rope them in.
Congratulating the Director General and his management team for their vision and hard work, the minister encouraged workers in the informal sector in the region to register with SSNIT since investment with the trust was guaranteed because it was under government control.
SSNIT has a lot of investments in transport, airline and hospitality industries so your contribution towards your pension is safe.
He advised workers against banking their hopes on their children, families and friends for support during old age saying that was a recipe for disaster.
Also gracing the occasion was the queenmother of Sunyani, Nana Akosua Duaa Asor Brayie II, and her subjects.
FROM Daniel Y Dayee, Sunyani