Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Minister for Employment, labour relations and pensions has entreated all Ghanaian workers both at the formal sector and self-employed to register and contribute to the Social Security and National Trust (SSNIT) to retire in dignity and to guarantee their retirement income as security in their old age.
He mentioned that article 22 of the 1948 universal declaration of human rights recognized social security as a basic human right saying every member of the society has the right to social security to have their destiny in their own hand.
The Sunyani West Minister of Parliament (MP) gave the encouragement at the launch of the 2023 SSNIT Mobile Service Week in Sunyani to bring the services of SSNIT closer to the doorstep of the people.
He said access to social security was of fundamental importance as it guaranteed retirement income security for workers in their old age stated in Article 22 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Mr. Baffour-Awuah said statistics obtained from the 2023 Report on Social Security Developments and Trends in Africa indicated that only 27.1 percent of older persons in Africa receive old-age benefits, compared to a global average of 77.5 percent adding that 17.4 percent of the population in Africa were covered by at least one social protection cover, compared to a global average of 46.9 percent.
He said in Ghana, social security covered self-employed who constituted the largest proportion of the working population appeared to be non-existent as many of the self-employed assumed that the SSNIT Scheme was designed for formal sector workers.
The belief accounts for the 1.8 active membership on the SSNIT Scheme out of the estimated 9.9 million working population and the remaining 8.1 million of the working population were denied of their right to social security, he said adding that Government through SSNIT had intensified public education to ensure that the people were well-informed and knowledgeable of their right to social security.
He stressed that Management of SSNIT rolled out the Self–Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED) to encourage the self-employed, whether in the formal or informal sector, to enroll onto the SSNIT Scheme to insure their incomes in return for decent pensions in retirement.
Mr. Baffour -Awuah said planning for retirement and other unforeseen circumstances was often overlooked in our everyday activities, but SEED should be the first to come to the mind for one to “choose his or her tomorrow” and sign up for SEED from SSNIT” for income security in retirement.
He urged all to plan for retirement regardless of the sector and not to put all their hopes on the children, grandchildren, families, friends, and society for support in old age which could be a disaster.
Mr. Baffour -Awuah stressed that there was no guarantee that such groups of people would be able to help when the need arises since they may have their own peculiar issues to deal with.
Placing your retirement income security in the hands of anyone other than yourself could therefore be dangerous, he said adding that it could leave in a state of despair and vulnerability at a time when one is old and vulnerable, he said .
He also advised them to sign onto other pension products available on the market to enhance their accrued benefits to have the best of life in old age.
Mr. Baffour- Awuah commended Board of Trustees, Director-General, and Management of SSNIT for making social security accessible to all and observed that since the launch of the SEED the number of self-employed members on the SSNIT Scheme have grown from 14,000 to about 57,000. In total, over 600,000.
He said self-employed persons now had some form of social security cover under the three tiers of the National Social Security Scheme.