The Social Security and National Trust (SSNIT) will soon introduce a scheme to enable informal sector subscribers to pay premium via mobile money.

Director-General, Dr John Ofori Tenkorang, revealed this at a SSNIT customer service mobile clinic and a sensitisation exercise in the Ashanti Region.

One major challenge to expanding contributions, according to SSNIT, has been how to make the informal sector benefit from the scheme without bureaucratic barriers.

“One of the things that we feel we need to do is actually to make it easier for those in small-scale enterprises, sole proprietors and entrepreneurs to make it easier for them to bring us their money,” said Dr Tenkorang.

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New Informal Sector Scheme

Dr John Ofori Tenkorang explains that this new informal scheme is outside the main scheme that the institution is running.

“We are trying to launch an informal sector scheme,” he said.

According to him, such a scheme will probably be one “where you can, for example, do your contribution through mobile money, maybe GHS1 or GHS2 a day.”

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He revealed plans by the institution to try and automate that process so that the burden of collection and supervision will not require a lot of manpower.

“We will heavily deploy electronic and IT to facilitate the interaction with us. It is something on the drawing board we are seriously working on it and as and when we get approval from our board, cross our T’s and dot our I’s,” he adDr.

Dr. Ofori Tenkorang says SSNIT is also working on the parallel scheme, with flexible contribution terms on mobile money platforms.

Current SSNIT informal sector scheme

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The SSNIT Informal Sector Pension Scheme is a voluntary contributory pension scheme designed principally for workers in the informal sector, which provides members with benefits that are based exclusively on their contributions.

The scheme was introduced by SSNIT in May 2005 on a pilot basis which subsequently rolled out. Members employed in the formal sector as well as Ghanaians living abroad can also join the Scheme.

The objectives of the Scheme are to operate a social protection scheme appropriate for the working population the Informal Sector of the Ghanaian economy as part of the Trust’s mandate under the Social Security Law of Ghana (PNDCL 247 of 1991) and to design, operate and manage appropriate contingencies and pay benefits in accordance with the rules and regulations formulated and approved by the Trust.

The Scheme is eligible to any self-employed Ghanaian who is aged between 15 and 59years. Additionally, workers in formally established institutions as well as Ghanaian workers living abroad are permitted to join the Scheme.

In 2017, authorities indicated the move to revive the scheme after four years of inaction; put on hold by the erstwhile government.

The scheme, aims to improve and deepen pensions coverage in Ghana.

SSNIT customer service mobile clinic

The SSNIT customer service mobile clinic is an annual exercise of getting on to the streets to transact business with clients.

This year’s exercise in the Ashanti region took place at Trede, Juaben and Offinso, where residents took advantage of the clinic to register and check their statements, among other transactions.

Others for the first time had the opportunity to register for the scheme.

The initiative is meant to bring SSNIT offices close to the people for easy registration.

Dr. Ofori Tenkorang says subscription has increased significantly since the inception of the outreach.

“We do it once a year and might increase the frequency as and when necessary, we will do so. Everything that we do, we take notes and we judge by the response and we have realised that it is one of the effective way of getting to the people. Sometimes people are intimidated and don’t want to come to the office but in an open certain like this, people feel comfortable to come and discuss so many issues with regarding SSNIT business with them,” he said.

The clinic starts on September 24 to September 28.