The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), has rolled out an initiative to provide pensions and related benefits to self-employed workers in the informal sector.
The initiative dubbed Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED), seeks to enroll over 500,000 self employed individuals in the informal sector.
The initiative which was launched in Kumasi on Wednesday May 10, 2023, focuses on fulfilling the mandate placed on the Trust (SSNIT) to extend pension coverage to all workers especially, the self-employed.
In his welcome address, the Director General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang said,
SEED will help redefine social security in this country and give hope to self–employed workers who can finally retire in dignity and comfort.
According to Dr Tenkorang, SSNIT in pursuit of this agenda, in 2022 carried out extensive engagements with various stakeholders across the country to solicit their input and support on how the self-employed can also have access to pension during retirement.
He noted that, Management of the Trust gathered valuable lessons from those stakeholder engagements and the lessons learnt have helped to shape the rollout.
He was convinced that if self-employed workers became aware of the value the SSNIT Scheme offers them, they will happily join the Scheme.
“If we had communicated the unparalleled value and benefits the SSNIT Scheme offers, not only would we see an improvement in self-compliance in the formal sector, but we would definitely have had more than just two percent of our active contributor base being self–employed”.
“SEED will help redefine social security in this country and give hope to the self–employed; the hope that they can also retire in dignity and comfort. We are going to rely heavily on the strengths of the Tier One product and once we have convinced the self–employed to look at SSNIT again, we will get them to sign up”.
“They will sign up because what we are offering is an opportunity for them to insure their incomes so it can be replaced when they are old or become invalid and cannot work again. The same Scheme will also pay a benefit to their survivors if they pass on”, Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang stated.
On her part, the Board Chairman of SSNIT, Madam Elizabeth Ohene, noted that though delayed, she was happy that the launch of SEED has come at a time she is chairing the Board of Trustees of SSNIT, but also expressed mixed feeling, pointing out that the nation has not paid attention to the provision of pension for the self-employed.
Report indicates that of the two million people in the country who are above 60 years, only 11% receive regular pensions. What this means is that a lot of people in active service are burdened with taking care of their aged parents and relatives. This trend is expected to continue if immediate steps are not taken to address it.
“The fact that we are now doing this after more than 50 years of existence of SSNIT is simply not right, but I’m very excited and encouraged that we are finally doing so. To think that several millions of workers in the country have no assurance of monthly pensions during their old age is quite scary”, she noted
The leadership of the various self-employed groups that were present at the launch of SEED encouraged their members to prioritize SSNIT Pension and sign onto the Scheme to enjoy the benefits and income security.
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