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24.10.2003 General News

Deductions would not affect pensions - SSNIT

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Denu (V/R), Oct. 24, GNA - Mr Kweku Osei-Bimpong, Public Affairs Manager of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) on Thursday said the deduction of two-and-a-half per cent of workers contribution to establish the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would not affect benefits of members.

He said the payment of pension benefits is based on a formula, which would not change as a result of the two-and-a-half per cent deductions. The Public Affairs Manger said this at a seminar for Employers, Company Accountants and Schedule Officers from Ketu, Akatsi, South and North Tongu Districts at Denu.

Mr Osei-Bimpong said the Trust had proposed to government to make the health insurance an additional benefit for workers even after their retirement to make it the fourth benefit of the Trust besides the old age, invalidity and lump sum benefits.

He noted that an Act of Parliament created SSNIT and that the State or government could at any time make changes to the Act in the interest of contributors and as part of its income protection policy.

On the new image of SSNIT, Mr Osei-Bimpong said the Trust had set strategic plans of regular interaction with clients to explain programmes and policies, visits to workplaces to ensure employers did the right thing and the creation of more Customer Service Points.

He, however, lamented that the Age 54 Project meant to update pension data of workers due for retirement to ensure faster payments was being misunderstood by some employers who "are unfortunately forcibly retiring their workers at 54 years".

He said some beneficiaries of the student's loans scheme were registering for different social security numbers when they get employment in order to avoid detection and repayment of the loans adding, the "Trust is liasing with employers to trace such people".

Mr Felix Adams, Acting Area Manager, Accra-East, said it was the responsibility of employers to ensure that the workers produced their social security numbers, declare appropriate salaries, back pays and to register all categories of workers including casual workers. Mr Joy Charles Abbey, Denu District Manager, said the Trust couldn't operate effectively if other stakeholders including workers and employers failed to play their roles as demanded by the scheme.

He said the failure of workers to present their correct social security numbers, update their nominees and the under declaration of workers salaries by some employers were some of the problems affecting the smooth running of the scheme.

Mr Abbey, therefore, urged employers and workers to change their attitude and assist in enhancing the scheme.

Speaking in a telephone interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Mr Osei-Bimpong said the Management of SNNIT had not said anywhere that the deductions would have an adverse effect on the scheme after 10 years.

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