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17.02.2005 General News

Social security for informal sector to reduce dependency

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Cape Coast, Feb 17, GNA - The Chief Manager of the Informal Sector Department of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), on Thursday noted that if the new pension scheme is able to capture the informal sector, the dependency ratio in the country would reduce drastically.

According to Mr William Kwaku Siaw, the over dependency rate in the country had contributed to low life expectancy due to pressure on parents and guardians to cater for their dependants.

Mr Siaw made the observation at a workshop at Cape Coast to educate representatives from the informal sector in the municipality on the new scheme expected to begin in March on pilot basis in eight towns including Tema, Takoradi, Kumasi, Ho and Accra

He pointed out that the scheme would provide some form of savings and a pension scheme to people in the informal sector to improve their businesses to live more meaningful life to reduce stress and to prolong their lives.

SSNIT hoped to capture at least half of the about 7 million people in the sector with no social security, he said.

Under the new social security scheme members could contribute any amount on daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or annual basis, which they could withdraw part to expand their businesses while the other part would be paid as pensions to them.

Mr Siaw further explained that when the scheme started SSNIT staff would collect the savings from their clients and urged the public to make "good" contributions that would benefit them later.

Dr Francis Sapara-Grant, Deputy Manager of the Department, urged people in the informal sector to embrace the scheme since it was "attractive," adding that, if not the "rich in the formal sector will hi-jack it".

He said the Department would continue with its educational tour to inform those in the informal sector on the need to join the scheme and urged the various associations in the sector to contact district offices of the Trust for more information.

The Cape Coast District SSNIT Manager, Mr Ian Alex Osuteye, urged the participants to form an Association to champion their course. The participants appealed to the organisers to include Cape Coast in the pilot programme. 17 Feb 05

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