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19.05.2004 General News

Ghanaians to get social security numbers at birth

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Tema, May 19, GNA -- The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is working towards registering Ghanaians at birth for the issuance of social security numbers.

Currently, the Trust is registering students in government training institutions such as nurses and teacher trainees, as well as those who have taken loans from the organisation, Mr Thomas L. Agawu, General Manager in-charge of Operations of the SSNIT announced on Wednesday at Tema. He dropped the hint when he chaired a day's seminar organised by the SSNIT for employers and employees from various establishments operating in the Tema harbour area under the theme: "forging ahead with other stakeholders towards data integrating and customer satisfaction," as its theme.

Future employers would therefore, be requested to employ only those who have being registered with the SSNIT and have social security numbers.

Speaking on the topic, "problems with enforcement", Mrs Adwoa Abebrese, SSNIT District Manager of the Tema harbour area said out of the 46 districts in the country, the harbour area of the SSNIT has the largest invalid social security numbers.

She said out of over 17,000 registered employees in the scheme, 30 percent have their documents wrong and described it as unfortunate and entreated employees to always ensure that their particulars were updated so that they do not regret on their retirement.

Mrs Abebrese blamed the situation on a lot of casual labourers with the organisations operating in the area as well as seafarers who are most often, out of the country.

She requested the organisations that employ casual workers to contact SSNIT for their registration because failure to do that would deprive them of their future benefits to support their social responsibilities.

According to her, even with those whose particulars are submitted, the amount paid often do not correspond with the figure and advised employees against conniving with their employers to under-declare particulars since it would definitely affect them as they were bound to retire on meagre amount.

She mentioned that some particulars submitted to the SSNIT indicate as low as 50,000 cedis as a worker's salary and described this as deliberate, warning that in future the SSNIT would consider prosecuting organisations, which intentionally submit inappropriate documents and dud cheques.

Speaking on, "employers obligations and responsibilities under the PNDC law 247", Mr Timothy F. Ohene, Area Manager of the SSNIT said the scheme makes it mandatory for all workers in the formal sector and voluntary for the self- employed to register only once, stressing that the law does not distinguish between casual workers and those in the formal sector.

He said the SSNIT would soon publish names of defaulters in the media to ensure that employers fulfil their obligations under the scheme, giving the assurance that no contributor would be underpaid. Touching on the "New image of SSNIT," Mrs Eva Amegashie, Deputy Corporate Affairs Manager said SSNIT has its vision of a world class financial institution to cater for Ghanaians workers.

She urged employers to help them track down students who are indebted to the Trust.

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