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SSNIT Sells Wahome To Chinese   
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The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is carrying out its decision to exit from some of its investments that are failing to perform as expected.

The latest to be affected is the Wahome Steel Limited. The move came after realising that some of the Trust’s essential investments in some distressed unlisted companies in various sectors were not performing hence the decision to dispose them.

Dr Frank Odoom, Director General of SSNIT, in an interview after the launch of the 20th anniversary of the retired SSNIT staff association, stated that the Trust had handed over all supporting documents on Wahome Steel Limited to a Chinese company, Fujian Chinese overseas Industrial Group.

Wahome Steel, which was one of SSNIT’s key investment assets, had been facing production problems and was subsequently shut down. The Director General said the company had since been divested with the Trust retaining a 26 percent stake while the remaining 74 percent stake would be held by Fujian Chinese Overseas Industrial Group.

Now christened Sentuo Steel, the new company is projected to produce 200,000 tonnes of steal in its first year of operation and then increase to 500,000 tonnes in subsequent years.

It is also expected that Sentuo Steel, which would be operation by November this year, would reduce unemployment in the country by employing about 1000 Ghanaians. Investment is one of the critical functions of the Trust as it manages funds accrued through the contributions of its stakeholders. The scheme seeks to maximize the returns on the contributions on its members to meet the payment of benefits and cost of running the scheme.

“The Trust is battling with low returns on investment,” said Dr. Odoom, adding that “We are committed to embarking on prudent investments where all our subsidiaries that are not breaking even are being strategically disposed off.”

In addition to the sale of Wahome Steel limited, he said the Trust had taken advantage of the oil discovery in Ghana by investing in the sector. “Management is also strategizing to have the large stock of arrears in contributions retrieved to enhance the trust’s income base for investment.”

With the implementation of the new pension scheme under Act 776, contributions to the Trust had reduced by about 27 percent leading to a reduction in investible funds.

“As if this is not enough, it is also quite threatening that the Act 766 has a provision that has extended annuity period from 72 to 75 years, whereas the minimum monthly contributions required for pension have been dropped from 240 to 180 months.”

This notwithstanding, the SSNIT Director General hinted that the expenditure burden on the Trust regarding benefits payment as against contribution collection “is very disturbing”.
Source: Emelia Ennin Abbey

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