Published on 30 November, 2023.
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has launched its annual Mobile Service Week in Sunyani in the Bono Region.
The SSNIT Mobile Service (SMS) Week is an annual event that provides SSNIT branches the opportunity to pitch camp at various locations across the country to bring the services of the Trust to the doorsteps of its Members and Clients.
This year, 74 vantage locations have been selected across the 16 regions of the country to provide services to Members and Clients with ease.
Services being offered include issuance of Statements of Account, registration of employers and workers, particularly, self-employed persons, benefits processing initiation, renewal of Pensioner Certificates, merging of SSNIT and GhanaCard numbers.
Patrons could also do general enquiries about the business and operations of SSNIT among other services.
The event being observed under the theme: “Choose your tomorrow; Sign up for SEED from SSNIT today” began on November 20, 2023, and is expected to end on Friday, November 24, 2023.
In his remarks, the Minister for Employment, Labour Relations and Pensions, Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, noted that although social security is recognised as a fundamental human right, its coverage has not been encouraging, particularly in Africa.
The 2023 Report on Social Security Developments and Trends in Africa, indicates that only 27.1 percent of older persons in Africa receive old-age benefits, compared to a global average of 77.5 percent while 17.4 percent of the population in Africa is covered by at least one social protection cover, compared to a global average of 46.9 percent.
In Ghana, social security cover for certain category of workers appears to be non-existent, especially among self-employed persons, who constitutes the largest proportion of the working population.
Many of these workers assumed that the SSNIT Scheme was primarily designed for formal sector workers or salaried workers only.
Mr Baffour Awuah indicated that this wrong notion has largely contributed to the low number of active self-employed persons on the SSNIT Scheme. To address this wrong perception, Government through SSNIT has intensified public education to ensure that the public is well-informed about their right to social security.
“In addition to public education, Management of SSNIT rolled out the Self–Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED); an initiative to encourage the self-employed to enrol on the SSNIT Scheme. SEED enables the self-employed to insure their right incomes with SSNIT in return for a decent pensions in retirement”, he said.
“Some years ago, this initiative would not have been possible. It is possible today because of SSNIT’s own improved technology that has allowed the deployment of electronic payment systems and the nationwide rollout of the GhanaCard which allows for easy enrolment on to the Scheme”.
“Bringing the 2023 SSNIT Mobile Service Week to Sunyani is a deliberate attempt to lead by example. As the Minister responsible for Pensions, I owe it a duty to ensure that all Ghanaians including every constituent of mine in the Sunyani Municipality and the region benefit from social security cover”, Hon. Baffour Awuah said.
In his address, the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, noted the theme for this year’s SMS Week ties in with the Trust’s commitment to ensure self-employed persons enrol, contribute to the SSNIT Scheme and enjoy all the benefits.
Currently, about 60% of the 3.2 million workers in the formal sector are covered under the SSNIT Scheme. Also, of the 6.7 million self-employed workers in Ghana, about 3.1 million are between 15 and 45 years, making them eligible to enrol on the SSNIT Scheme. However, only 57,000, representing 1.8% of them are covered by SSNIT.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang indicated that though this number of self-employed on SSNIT may seem low, it represents over 300% increase from a figure of about 14,000 last year since the Trust started preparatory work leading to the launch of SEED.
“These figures show us that the message has been well received. Ultimately, we are looking to change the current pension landscape where less than 1% (0.21) of the over 240,000 (240,742) pensioners retired as self-employed. The goal is to change the trend by vigorously enrolling eligible self-employed workers”, the SSNIT DG said.
The Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene commended the Management of SSNIT for intensifying the drive for all workers to have social protection and further thanked SSNIT for bringing this year’s launch of the SSNIT Mobile Service Week to Sunyani.
“Director-General, I am aware that just last month you were here to hold a meeting with self-employed workers and informal sector associations under the TUC. Your hands-on approach and quest to demystify issues surrounding pensions is commendable. SSNIT, has over time been perceived to be for formal sector workers. So I commend you and your staff for taking this bold step”, she noted.
Participants at the event commended SSNIT for their efforts in extending pension coverage to self-employed persons to ensure that such workers also receive social protection just as those in the formal sector.