Ambitious SSNIT Targets One Million Self-Employed By 2024
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says it is targeting at least an initial one million self-employed workers onto its scheme in the next two years.
According to the Trust, there are more than 80million Ghanaians, working, but who do not contribute in any form or shape to SSNIT, and thus putting their retirement age into serious danger.
The Director-General of SSNIT, John Ofori-Tenkorang, who disclosed this during a conference in Koforidua in the Eastern Region last week, said that, going forward, they are going to embark on aggressive moves to bring such persons on board to insure their future.
“There are over 8million Ghanaians who are working who do not contribute to SSNIT and we think that, that field is large enough for us to go there and try and expand the SSNIT business,” he pointed out.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang said this is possible because SSNIT has in just three months managed to enroll some 18,000 from the initial 14,000 self-employed persons, after it embarked on some sort of sensitization work among the public.
This is interesting because, in the view of the D-G, this is even before SSNIT embarks on this aggressive sensitization work nationwide to enroll the remaining self-employed people.
He said it will come on the heels of a launch of the campaign in 2023 to implore these self-employed workers to enroll onto the Trust for financial benefits.
“When we started this year doing the stakeholder engagements to sensitize people on the need for the self-employed to join SSNIT, we had only about 14,000 people who are self-employed who have voluntarily come to join SSNIT.
“Through the stakeholder engagements, while we were sensitizing people, we got a significant uptake. Right now within three months that we are doing the sensitization we jumped from 14,000 to 18,000 which is about 30 percent increase within just three months.
“We haven’t launched, even though today you can walk to any SSNIT office and write your name as a self-employed person. We haven’t gone out there to basically officially open the channels. This 30 percent uptake was achieved even before we rolled out the electronic payment channels.
“So it is our hope that within the next year or two, we should be able to get about a million self-employed people sign onto SSNIT and also by so doing they would be assured that when they retire, they too will receive monthly payments until their deaths,” he said.
The Director-General also disclosed that SSNIT has paid some GHc3.4 billion, as at October, this year, to survivors, as well as lump sums for people who do not qualify for pensions.
The amount, he indicated, is huge but has been released into the Ghanaian economy, stressing the important role SSNIT plays in the national economy as a whole.
“As at October 2022, the Trust has paid I think about 3.4 billion Ghana Cedis and this is pension payments and also survivor’s benefits and lump sums, which are the onetime payments we pay to people who do not qualify for pensions.
“I would imagine also that we will close the year having paid between 4 billion to 4.1 billion Ghana Cedis.
“As you can see, this is a significant amount of money pumped into the economy to help pensioners survive and this shows how systemic and how important our organization, and that we should take the SSNIT business very seriously, and for those people who are working in Ghana today who haven’t joined SSNIT they should know that SSNIT we are there to pay and we are there to serve them very well when they come,” he explained.
Touching on the current economic crunch and the potential of workers losing their jobs, leading to their not being able to contribute to the Trust, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang sympathized with the situation and said this is why their intention to have more people on their roll is important.
He said the economic challenges are being felt by everyone, including SSNIT, and that is the more reason why they are devising ways to sustain the Trust.
“You know that if there are no workers then there is no SSNIT, because it is the workers who come to insure their incomes associated with their work with us.
“So when employment goes up and people join by proxy then SSNIT contributions will also go up, when employment goes down the economy contracts, we also see some knock on effects on that.
“It’s been a tough economic environment we operate in, I think all of us can attest to that there are workers who have probably lost their jobs.
“We need to keep this organisation running because we have pensioners that we have to pay, so we also have to devise new strategies to reach people who are employed who haven’t come to join us and so that is why we are embarking on this bold new step of going out there and canvassing and convincing all workers in Ghana who haven’t joined us to come join us.
“Yes, economies contract and expand and by consequence we see those fluctuations in our business also, but we believe that there is a lot of fodder in Ghana that we haven’t covered,” he stated.
The conference brought together the operations and benefits divisions of SSNIT, to ostensibly take stock of all the work that has been done across the country this year, to cover more workers onto the Trust.
The conference was also held to develop an ‘Action Plan’ aimed at getting more self-employed workers onto the Trust beginning 2023.