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12.09.2005 General News

Arrears in SSNIT contributions and NHIS


Ho, Sept. 12, GNA - Workers, whose Social Security contributions are in arrears for sometime now, would not have their names submitted to the National Health Insurance Council to be listed as beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Mr Thomas L. Agawu, General Manager, Operations of SSNIT gave the hint at a seminar for contributors, employers and their Social Security Schedule Officers in Ho on Thursday on ways they could assist the Trust to speed up the processing of claims. According to Mr Agawu, those who fall under the CAP 30 Pensions

Scheme and Pensioners under CAP 30 could not be automatic members of the NHIS. They would have to register and pay premiums. Under the funding arrangement for the NHIS, SSNIT is passing on two and half per cent of workers Social Security contributions to the scheme every month as their premium.

He expressed regret that though some organizations paid their workers' contributions to the Trust, they were mistakenly listed in the media as having defaulted.

Mr Agawu explained that in some cases, monies released by management for such payments were misappropriated by schedule officers and therefore, recommended periodic audits of payments by employers to ensure that the deductions were duly paid to the Trust.

Mrs. Maame Akua Amoah, SSNIT Area Manager for Eastern and Volta Regions said the SSNIT was working towards the time when by the touch of a button, a contributor's records would show up for prompt payment. She said the practice among some employers to pay their workers higher salaries but declare lower salaries to SSNIT, was not in the interest of workers.

Mrs. Amoah advised employers to contact the Trust to arrange flexible payments of arrears, if they were in genuine difficulty. Mr Emmanuel Tsama, Ho Branch Manager said the biggest problem SSNIT was encountering was compliance.

He said it was wrong to refuse to deduct and pay to SSNIT contributions of casuals, saying that, once one was employed and paid income, he or she should be duly registered, deductions made and paid to SSNIT, even if it was only for a month.

Mr Kwaku Osei-Bimpong, Head of Public Affairs of SSNIT said the ultimate goal of SSNIT was to present to Ghanaians a world class pensions system within the shortest possible time.

He said presently, workers, who passed through the Trust's "Age 54 Programme," could have their benefits paid within three weeks after retirement, because data on them were cleaned and updated by the Trust. Concerns raised by participants during an open forum included the dual pensions scheme operating in the country, one for the security services, lecturers and Judges and the inability of SSNIT to give loans to contributors while they were strong and working.