17.06.2004 Business & Finance

SSNIT urges informal sector workers to join new scheme

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Accra, June 17, GNA- Mr William Siaw, Head of the Informal sector of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) on Thursday called on informal sector workers to join a new scheme by SSNIT to enable them enjoy retirement benefits.

He said the number of informal workers currently contributing to the fund was less than one percent of the total number of contributors despite several incentives put in place for them.

Mr Siaw said this at a workshop organized by SSNIT and the Centre for Informal Activities and Development, an NGO, to educate workers in the informal sector in the Accra metropolis on the details of the new scheme, which would be implemented from July this year. About 170 workers including caterers, dressmakers, traders and vocational professionals within the Accra Metropolis participated in the workshop.

The new Scheme, which was designed, based on a research carried out in accordance with the objectives of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA) would also be fashioned to suit many individuals in the informal sector.

Mr Siaw explained that the structure of the scheme contributions would be split into two equal parts and would be credited to two individual sub Accounts that would be managed separately. Fifty percent of contributions shall be credited to member's retirement account while the other fifty shall be credited to member's occupational scheme account.

He said members would be permitted to contribute any amount they could afford and as frequently as desired and even people with limited income and financial resources can also contribute.

Mr Siaw said it was worrying that only about ten percent of the economically active population is covered under the scheme saying that as at the end of the year 2003, the total number of informal sector workers contributing to the current scheme was 6,349. He urged the informal sector workers to register and ensure a stress-free retirement.

He said, "As workers in the informal sector, you hold the key to Ghana's economic recovery".

The scheme shall begin operation in Accra, Takoradi, Kumasi, Koforidua, Tema, Ho, Techiman and Madina between July and November this year.

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