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25.11.2008 Business & Finance

SSNIT Informal Sector Fund signs tripartite agreement

By Micael Boateng, Sunyani - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Informal Sector Fund has entered into a tripartite agreement with HFC Bank Ghana Limited and Boafo Microfinance Services Limited, to offer informal sector entrepreneurs access to credit facilities to grow their businesses.

Under the agreement, a member of the fund will be permitted, based on certain qualifying conditions, to use their balance or Occupational Scheme Accounts to secure a loan from Boafo Microfinance.

The scheme is also expected to improve informal housing settlements, through the Access to Home Improvement Loan product.

Additionally, the scheme is to strengthen economic security of people in the informal sectors, through simultaneous growth of businesses and occupational pension funds, which would go a long way to guarantee economically stable households.

Dr. Francis Sapara-Grant explained that the Occupational Pension Loan Scheme, which is the subject of the agreement, was the result of the collaborative effort between the agreeing parties, to establish and administer a credit scheme for members of the SSNIT Informal Sector Fund, in line with the design of the informal sector scheme.

Under the Scheme, members of the fund are permitted to make periodic withdrawals from the scheme, while 50 per cent of the person's contribution would be used as a retirement account for the individual members.

He emphasised that the agreement between the parties, signified the need to harness the efforts of complementary institutions in the promotion of the welfare of the elderly, and the eradication of destitution from the country.

“It is quite obvious that the business of providing social protection to the Ghanaian worker, has assumed a different dimension through this creative and innovative approach,” he added

The fund currently operates through a network of four branch offices and 10 contact offices, which are located in four geographical regions of the country, namely, the Greater Accra, Ashanti Western and Eastern regions.