The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Dr. Anthony Yaw Baah has commended the Management of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for improvement on its operations.
He explained that under the leadership of Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, the immediate past Board Chairman and the Director-General, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, SSNIT has worked tirelessly to improve its operations and image.
He made this known when he addressed the 11th quadrennial delegates congress which also marked the 75th anniversary of the founding of the TUC, at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region last Wednesday.
Pensioners and beneficiaries of deceased members in time past complained of the long periods they had to wait before their benefits were paid. However, pensioners are now being paid within two weeks after they have applied for their benefits as compared to the many weeks it took to process and pay pensions previously.
Presently, the total number of active contributors on the SSNIT Scheme has increased from 1.27 million in 2017 to over 1.63 million in 2020 and indeed, more workers have hope of receiving retirement benefits under the current pensions regime. These, Dr. Yaw Baah noted were some positive strides made by the Trust over the period.
“The number of employers paying SSNIT contributions has increased by 20 percent, from 54,000 to over 65,000”.
“The net assets of SSNIT has increased by 13 percent from GH¢8.4 billion in 2017 to GH¢9.52 billion in 2020. During this same period, administrative cost as a percentage of total expenditure also decreased from 9.4 percent to 6.6 percent”, he added.
The TUC boss also praised Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang and his team for partnering Organised Labour to educate its members across the country. He further described the Trust as now being transparent and more engaging unlike in time past.
Payment of Past Credit
Last year, government made commitment to top-up benefits for retirees under the National Pensions Act, 2008, Act 766, whose Past Credit plus payment from their second-tier schemes fell short of the 25% lump sum paid to their counterparts who retired under PNDC Law 247.
Since 2020, new pensioners whose benefits were processed under the the National Pensions Act, 2008, Act 766, keep raising issues with the total lump sum they receive from the second tier fund managers and the Past Credit from SSNIT.
For some of these pensioners, the lump sum benefit they receive is less when compared to what was paid to their counterparts who retired in 2019 under the PNDCL 247.
This shortfall in the payment of lump sum is one of the transitional challenges associated with laws of this nature. The first batch of pensioners have not contributed long enough to accumulate so much funds as lump sum under the second tier. Also, the 4% of salaries for most of these pensioners is quite low because salaries on which the contributions were paid prior to 2010 were low.
It is expected that with time, the lump sum benefits paid under the three tier pension scheme will far outweigh what used to be under the PNDCL 247.
Commenting further on the issues regarding payment of the Past Credit which has been in the news for some time, Dr. Yaw Baah said he was aware SSNIT, and the team set up by government are working assiduously to get all issues resolved.
“We are confident they will do a good job and provide the basis for the computation of the top-up”, he said.
As at March, 2021, about 34,222 pensioners have been paid about GH¢260 million in Past Credit whiles the total Past Credit paid to 16,058 survivors amounted to about GH¢22 million.
SSNIT has already assured all its Contributors and Pensioners that the Trust will at all times pay their benefits accurately and promptly as has always been done.