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10.10.2008 General News

SSNIT To Reconcile Employers Accounts

By Francis Xah - newtimesonline.com

To ensure that employers pay their workers' social security contributions on time, the Social Security and Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has embarked a scheme for the monthly reconciliation of employers' accounts based on last known payment records.

Mr Kwasi Osei, Director-General of SSNIT announced this yesterday in Accra at a forum with Chief Executives.

He said the scheme, known as Employer Member Account Reconciliation (EMAR), would determine promptly and inform employers regularly of their financial status with the SSNIT and also promote excellent relationship between the SSNIT and Employers through regular interactions.

He said the benefits of EMAR are that, it provides an up to date information on the indebtedness of all registered establishments, an improved database and prompt detection of inconsistencies between employer records and SSNIT records for reconciliation.

Mr Osei said the forum was called by the management of the SSNIT to enable them to dialogue with the Chief Executives, Managing Directors, and Employers on how best they could assist the SSNIT,  prompt payment of the social security contributions of their workers.

He disclosed that, for the past three years, about 18 per cent of workers' social security contributions in the country paid to the SSNIT by employers were not accompanied by the necessary data or social security numbers.

Even where the numbers were supplied, they were most often wrongly quoted, making it difficult for the SSNIT to credit anyone with the money.

He reminded the employers and Chief Executives that, the SSNIT would have no choice but resort to its last option of arraigning recalcitrant chief executives at the courts, if they failed to pay their employees' contributions promptly.

Mr Osei said under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), workers who contributed towards SSNIT automatically qualify to receive free medical treatment and that, failure to pay their contributions meant denying them the right to enjoy free health care.

He pointed out that the SSNIT had the legal and constitutional mandate to protect the contributions of workers so that they could enjoy revision whenever they go on retirement.

He said SSNIT had developed an Automatic Finger Identification System (AFIS), a biometric information system to check double registration by any worker or employer.

Mr Osei urged the Chief Executives to live up to their responsibilities and not give cause to the SSNIT to compel them to pay at the courts.

“On Saturdays, whenever the courts issue a bench warrant for the arrest of a Chief Executive for non-payment of workers' contributions, they are able to negotiate quickly with the banks to effect payment. 

So why can't they pay on working days, instead of being compelled to do so?” Mr Osei wondered.

Most of the Chief Executives complained that, even though they make regular payment of their workers' contributions, they notice gaps for non-payment, and urged SSNIT to correct the anomaly.

Others also complained that two different SSNIT registration numbers given to students- one for the student loan scheme and the other when they start working, are creating confusion.

They alleged that monies deducted were paid into a suspense account thereby creating a credibility problem for employers.

Mr Osei after listening to the concerns gave an assurance that, SSNIT would seriously address the issues raised.

He said SSNIT has already started the Age 54 Ancillary Project, where records of people of 54 years and above would be cleaned up to minimise delays during processing of their pensions claims.

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