Pension Contributions To SSNIT Up By 43%

Employers’ pension contributions to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) rose by 43 per cent to GH¢825.96 million at the end of 2011. The trust collected a little over GH¢576.83 million in 2010. The real return on SSNIT’s investment, however, dropped from the 7.2 per cent recorded in 2010 to 5.6 per cent at the close of the 2011 financial year. The Director General of SSNIT, Dr Frank Odoom, disclosed these at the Trust’s seventh stakeholder meeting held in Accra on Thursday. He said the trust paid GH¢355.15 million to the beneficiaries of SSNIT’s pension scheme in 2011. The amount represented a 14 per cent increase over the amount paid in 2010. As of 2011, Dr Odoom said, registered members with the trust stood at 1.4 million members out of which 963,619 were active members. The figure was 7.03 per cent higher than the 900,332 active memberships registered in 2010. According to Dr Odoom, the Trust was making progresses in terms of membership and membership contributions but the major challenge it faced was the gap created by increasing the benefit payment without the commensurate increase in contributions. He, therefore, said they were working at increasing investment to be able to pay the increased benefits to beneficiaries. Touching on indebtedness to SSNIT in respect of Social security contributions, he said a total amount of GH¢ 218.93 million was owed in 2011. Out of that amount, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) owed GH¢ 113.72 million, representing 51.9 per cent, while private establishment and subvented establishments owed GH¢ 82 Million and 23.2 million respectively. Doctor Odoom, however, told journalists at the end of the forum that the CAGD had cleared all the debts it owed in 2011, but the other Managing Directors of the private and subvented establishments who had not still paid the contributions of their employees were being taken to court for prosecution. The Board Chairman of SSNIT, Mr Kwame Peprah, also gave some statistics on the growing membership of the scheme and how the Trust was making continuous strides over the years. He said the population of pensioners continued to grow steadily on a monthly basis, and added that the number increased from 107,312 in 2010 to 112,552 in 2011, representing an increase of 4.86 per cent. According to Mr Peprah, the desire to ensure adequacy of benefits paid for members in the face of the pension reform was another great challenge for the scheme. He said as a result of that, members who were exempted but opted for Act 766 were paid benefits under PNDC law 247, because it ensured superior benefits for those affected. “The other challenge is the pressure beneficiaries put on SSNIT to honour their benefits payments under the Tier 2 of Act 766. This benefit should legally be paid by the Tier-2 operators or for now from the National Pensions Regulatory Authority”, he said. He thanked the stakeholders for their support and gave the assurance that “the Trust is fully committed to moving this institution in the right direction”.