The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) hit the streets early this month to reach out to customers via its customer clinics where the general public was engaged on social security matters.
The 2016 clinic was organised in a different style because SSNIT within the week, from Monday, September 5 to Friday, September 9, organised a float and employers seminar to add spice to the event.
The aim was to create more awareness of its operations and to introduce to stakeholders the latest technologies deployed in the organisation that would make contribution payment as well as benefit payments easier.
Basically, the annual customer clinics are meant to bring the services of the Trust to the door steps of the public.
The customer clinics, “Hit the Street” campaign, and employers seminar are all well-planned and executed strategies by the Trust to moblise support of all workers in Ghana to contribute towards a sustainable fund that would provide them with some income support during old age, invalidity and also for their nominated dependants should they pass on before the age of 75.
Some of the enquiries made at all the events centred on change of beneficiaries, enrollment and benefit payment procedures. Potential contributors’ concerns were also addressed.
“Hit the Street” campaign
The SSNIT “Hit the Street” campaign was designed to sensitise employers on their obligations towards social security payments and also to provide education on the new SSNIT Pension Scheme.
The Trust this year, introduced the “Hit the Street” campaign, a novelty, where staff went on floats in busy towns and streets, giving out information including flyers and wrist-bands on the SSNIT Pension Scheme.
SSNIT staff from the eight area offices and 50 branches in the country, cladding their orange T-shirts and caps embossed with the Trust logo and messages, attended to and answered the queries of curious and anxious employers, employees and also members of the public .The float was organised in all the 10 regional capitals of the country.
In Accra, for instance, the float moved from Industrial Area SSNIT Office Complex through Kaneshie, Mallam Junction, Abeka- Lapaz, Tesano, and back to the Industrial Area office.
In Sunyani, the float moved from the SSNIT House to the Sunyani Polytechnic Roundabout through the Wednesday Market, making a u-turn to the Sunyani Post Office Roundabout, the Sunyani Regional Administration, University of Energy, Fiapre toll-booth and back to the SSNIT House.
In Koforidua, students of the Koforidua Polytechnic who also donned their orange SSNIT-branded T-shirts and caps, joined staff and managers of the Trust on the float through the principal streets, distributing flyers. Some of the managers entered shops and engaged business owners on the benefits of complying with the social security laws. The three northern regional capitals also experienced the “Hit the Street” campaign in an appealing manner. The Trust flyers were distributed to the public.
At the employers seminar, employers or their representatives were introduced to the new technologies deployed by SSNIT such as the online contribution report submission and validation.
Previously, employers submitted their contributions reports at SSNIT branches for validation before the payment advice was generated for payment at the cashiers’ point. The payments could only be made at the Branch that registered the businesses.
Currently, employers can submit their contribution reports online, validate and generate the payment advice through the SSNIT portal. They can then pay their contributions at the SSNIT partner banks and contributors accounts are credited soonest upon receipt of payment by the bank.
In other SSNIT administrative areas such as Takoradi, Tamale, Kumasi, Tema and Accra South where similar activities took place, the organisers described the events as successful as they received a lot of enquiries from especially self-employed persons who wanted to contribute voluntarily.
SSNIT has been in the pension business since 1991 and as at June this year, the Social Security Scheme has registered 1,265,88 active contributors, a total of 54,420 active establishments, and 163,20 active pensioners.
This notwithstanding, there is the need to enrol more contributors to the scheme to increase the level of investment of pension funds which would translate into the sustainability of the scheme.
So far, SSNIT has been making prudent investments of workers Social Security Tier One Contributions under the National Pension Act 2008, Act 766. This has translated into the provision of the lowest pension of GH¢276, higher than the state monthly minimum wage. The highest monthly pension payment is about GH¢29,000.
The Trust is still the largest single institutional investor on the Ghana Stock Exchange and is also helping to nurture the development and sustenance of the capital market in Ghana.
It is also involved in housing development, both commercial and residential, student hostels across the country, as well as the energy sector, industrial estates, hospitality, transport and social investments to build a sound financial base for the fund.
SSNIT has done a lot to maintain the scheme and brought it to this height. The viability of the scheme has made it possible for the Trust to be transformed to global standards.
A lot of changes have been put in place to add value to the Trust. The Trust has migrated from the manual computation of pension payments and has automated its systems. Many pensioners countrywide would attest to the fact that the situation with claim processing has improved and that monthly pension payment is received on time.
To this end, SSNIT organised the events to draw attention of the general public to consider retirement planning.
Retirement planning is gradually gaining grounds in the country. SSNIT purports to send the message of retirement planning to the length and breadth of the country.
SSNIT in partnership with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) this year started a programme to introduce the concept of social security to students in basic schools from selected schools throughout the country.
This is borne out of the conviction that involvement of the youth which is the country’s future labour force, are critical in the sustainance of the Social Security Scheme. Education at churches, schools, communities are ongoing.
Through the customer clinics, “Hit the Street” campaign and the empoyers seminar, many workers have also come to realise that low contribution payments by their employers would translate to lower pension on retirement and are persuading their employers to pay social security on their behalf regularly as required by law.
Compiled by SSNIT Corporate Affairs Department