Top management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) converged at a conference in Koforidua on Wednesday to discuss ways of sustaining its operations as the COVID-19 pandemic rages.
The annual conference bought together SSNIT management, departmental heads, and branch managers from across the country to deliberate over the performance of the Trust in the previous year and the first three quarters of 2021.
It was on the theme, “Ensuring sustainability of the SSNIT Scheme, through effective and efficient operational business processes; leveraging modern and reliable technology.”
The three-day conference aims to adopt strategies to bolster the operational output of the scheme in 2022 and also explore new and reliable technologies to ensure sustainable service delivery.
With its new operating software, app, new interactive website, and customer feedback mechanism, the scheme looks to grow its current members and convert 13 million of those in the informal sector to become voluntary contributors.
Addressing the operations conference, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, Director-General of SSNIT, said the scheme has invested and deployed new technologies to improve operations and customer experience but urged managers to ensure a better experience of clients and contributors.
“All the technology we are investing in such as the new operating software, app, new interactive website, and customer feedback mechanism, will mean nothing if the experience is bad, even once,” he said.
“We cannot do much about the pensions Members receive but what we can do is to make sure that the amounts are calculated with 100 percent accuracy and also ensure that the service we give them is world-class”.
He said members, both contributors and pensioners, employers, and clients should be central to SSNIT operations, and commended the staff for improved performance which led to the Trust emerging as the best in service delivery in the public sector in 2018 and 2020.
However, he charged managers to reorient their mindsets and change from the traditional approach of doing business to one that was concerned with building and maintaining lifelong relationships.
Though SSNIT has been in existence for 56 years, it has only about 1.7 million active members. “What that tells us is that our approach has not worked well enough,” he said.
He added, “The task at hand is to convert as many of the 13 million or so players in the informal sector to voluntary SSNIT or first-tier contributors.”
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang bemoaned the Trust’s failure to articulate the value of the Scheme and the generous benefits it offers to workers, especially those in the informal sector, to secure their future.
“We at SSNIT over the years have not actively and convincingly sold the message and explained to people what the Scheme offers and how they are shortchanging themselves by not taking advantage of the offering.”
He the SSNIT Pension Scheme guaranteed returns higher than what members would have received if they had invested the contributions in Treasury Bills.
He, therefore, charged managers to change the narrative on low pensions by providing the right information to sign on new members especially, players in the informal sector.
Mr Kofi Osafo-Maafo, Deputy Director-General, Investment, and Development, said the sustainability of the scheme required leadership, behaviours, and attitudes as well as economic, environmental and social.
He said in maintaining welfare and resources for the future generation, there was the need to eschew individual interest, and that required leadership that take decisions having an eye on the future.
He said what would sustain the scheme was investment and contribution collections which SSNIT has direct control over and called on staff to work hard to close the gap between the benefit payments of about 240 million Ghana cedis a month and private sector contribution of 200 million Ghana cedis per month, leveraging on investment and technology.
Deputy Director-General, Operations, and Benefits, Mrs Laurette Korkor Otchere, commended managers of the Operations and Benefits Divisions for their efforts over the past five years.
She said employers are required to submit the list of their workers and corresponding salaries, contribution report, to the Trust by the last working day of each month.
However, she said some employers default with this provision. “So a mass outstanding Contribution Report retrieval exercise was initiated in August 2021, increasing Contribution Report submission rate from 73.0% to 86.4%.”