The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has engaged some journalists in Wa, Upper West Region on its recently rolled out Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED) initiative.
The SEED is an initiative aimed at expanding coverage of the basic national social security coverage to self-employed persons in the country.
According to the Trust, the initiative became necessary to extend coverage to informal sector workers not only to increase active membership and contributor base of the Scheme but also to ensure that every worker in Ghana enjoys social protection.
The engagement, thus, sought to equip the journalists with information about the SEED initiative so as to pass down the right information to the general public to ensure maximum benefit.
Mr Festus Darko-Preko, the Tamale Area Manager of the SSNIT, said the initiative has come to provide income replacement and ensure that self-employed workers have a guaranteed source of income during old age or in the event of permanent impairment.
“Traditionally, everybody thinks social security or pension is for those in the formal sector [and] now we have introduced a new baby [SEED] where all self-employed people can also contribute to SSNIT and also enjoy pension when they retire,” he said.
He urged informal sector workers in the Upper West Region to register and begin contributing to the SSNIT scheme in order to benefit good retirement packages or better compensations in times of permanent disabilities, when they are out of active service.
Mr Darko-Preko however observed that the most people do not understand the operations of SSNIT and misconstrued it to be a tax-collecting agency and, hence shy away from enrolling into the scheme to secure good futures.
“It is about people’s misunderstanding of the SSNIT scheme, and so they think it is a tax, it is just for formal sector people, they think we have been collecting their money, that is the challenge we have.
“But we are able to understand and appreciate that everybody who comes on board will have [enjoy] pension, it makes it easier,” he intimated.
He therefore emphasized that pension contributions are never taxes but insurance buffers for unforeseeable future, and that ‘everybody’ qualifies to be part of the SSNIT scheme, and not just public sector workers.
Mr Charles Akwei Garshong, the Public Affairs Manager of the SSNIT, reiterated that the SEED is targeted at informing the public that the SSNIT scheme is not specifically tailored at only public sector workers but that it is meant for every Ghanaian worker.
“It is to draw that attention that it [SEED] is for everyone, you are doing your own business, you may be a lawyer, you may be a consultant, you may be a contractor, you may be a ‘Keke’ driver, irrespective of what you are doing for yourself, you earn your own income, you determine how much you pay yourself,” he indicated.
He said the SSNIT Pension scheme exists to ensure that people live dignified lives when they retire or when they are struck with some of permanent disability.
Mr Garshong stated that when people become old or invalid, the most assured way to continue to earn income was to insure their present incomes with the SSNIT as he assured that “SSNIT will pay you monthly until you pass on.”
He noted that self-employed persons have the choice to decide how much to pay as contribution to the SSNIT scheme and that how much a person earns at retirement depends on how much they contribute while in active service.
The SEED initiative was launched on May 10, 2023.