The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has saved a whooping GH¢43million as of April this year after deleting over 6,300 ghost pensioners from its payroll.
The Trust in February last year, begun an exercise to clean the pension’s payroll of ghost names in collaboration with the banks, which monitored dormant accounts over time and terminated those it deemed ghost pensioners.
Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, the Director-General of SSNIT who made this known, indicated that cleaning the pensions payroll formed part of the prudent internal and external management and cost saving practices aimed at building a robust self-sustaining Scheme.
SSNIT has a total of 1,551,718 active contributors as of March 2019 and 205,094 pensioners on its payroll with the highest paid pensioner receiving GHS55,899.57 a month, while the minimum pension paid is GHS300.00.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang was speaking at an educational forum organised by SSNIT in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to discuss social security issues, particularly, on pensions and benefit computations.
It was aimed at promoting knowledge of the SSNIT Scheme, empowering organised labour as peer educators for the Trust and demystifying controversial issues surrounding computation of benefits to contributors.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang stressed that sustainability of the Scheme was very essential and urged all institutions to ensure that the Trust run efficiently and effectively.
He said the external actuarial valuation suggested that the contribution rate necessary to pay benefits over the next 50 years and to accumulate assets representing three years of total expenditure was around 19.2 percent.
Last year, he said the Trust spent GH¢2.5 billion on benefits payments and indicated that GH¢230million was being spent in funding pensions payment to over 200,000 pensioners monthly.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang added that more than one million Cedis was spent on Invalidity Pension every month, adding that SSNIT was committed to paying all legitimate claims.
He said there were no myths surrounding benefits computation and that, pensions were direct reflections of salaries on which contributions were paid, saying “with the SSNIT pension Scheme, what you put in is what you get”
He said SSNIT had embarked on an aggressive public education agenda to promote knowledge of the scheme among Ghanaians and that the Trust was leveraging on its large social media followers to educate and engage millennial.
Mr. Joseph Poku, the Pensions Manager who took participants through the SSNIT benefits computation, enumerated the three factors that were considered in the computation of benefits under the National Pensions Act 2008, Act 766 as age, average of best 36 months’ salary and earned pension right.
He said a contributor was entitled to a pension right based on the number of months contributed to the Scheme and gave the minimum and maximum pension right earned for 180 and 420 months as 37.5 and 60 percent respectively.
He said salary was a key factor in the computation of pensions and so the higher the salary one contributed, the higher his pensions.
Mr. Joshua Ansah, the Deputy General Secretary of TUC, noted with concern that some workers connived with their employers to pay little contributions to SSNIT and deposit huge sums to the private trust funds.
He advised workers to be interested in consolidating their salaries in order to have meaningful pension instead of bagging huge allowances, which had no bearing on the computation of pensions.
SSNIT was established in 1972 under NRCD 127. It manages the First Tier Contributions of 13.5 percent of workers’ basic salary. Eleven per cent of the amount is invested in the Social Security Fund, while 2.5 per cent goes into the National Health Insurance Scheme.