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16.08.2004 General News

SSNIT goes international to retrieve students' loans

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Accra, Aug. 16, GNA - The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is to launch an international drive to retrieve millions of cedis of SSNIT Students Loan from beneficiaries domiciled outside the country.

The drive, which takes off this Friday, would take the team to the United Kingdom and USA where a large number of Ghanaians many of whom took advantage of the Students Loans Scheme while in School in Ghana but never paid back are residing.

Briefing the Ghana News Agency Business Desk in Accra, Mr Kweku Osei Bimpong, Head, Public Affairs, said SSNIT considered the move as strategic as it would create a platform through the Ghana International Bank for Ghanaians to boost the repayment levels.

On the trend on the local front, Mr Bimpong said beneficiaries had paid 80 billion cedis so far over the last several years. He said the bulk of the arrears of 27 billion cedis were paid last year.

Mr Bimpong expressed the hope that the figures for this year would rise over last year's, describing the trend over the last three years as encouraging.

"With the introduction of payment from contributions, we believe that the repayment levels would go up significantly."

On how deductions are made from guarantors' contributions, Mr Bimpong said it was only when guarantors of Student Loans were due for their benefits that deductions were made from their contributions and not on a regular monthly basis.

He explained that some beneficiaries had paid off their student's loan and thus had a clean sheet. However, a large number had still not settled their indebtedness to the Scheme.

He said the international drive would help stem this tide adding, "we have also structured an arrangement where beneficiaries are requested to pay their loans straightaway from their SSNIT contributions."

Mr Bimpong said SSNIT was sensitive to the plight of pensioners and allowed them time to work out with beneficiaries on the best form of settling the loans.

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