Accra, Dec. 17, GNA - The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) collected 1.69 trillion cedis at the end of October this year, representing a 26 per cent increase over the same period in 2004. Mr Kwasi Osei, Director-General of SSNIT, said the performance was achieved despite the difficult and trying times for employers. However, he said, the arrears in contribution collection was also increasing, describing the situation as very worrying. For example, the arrears for the year 2005 alone are in excess of 68.59 billion cedis, while the accumulated arrears over the years stood at 320.44 billion cedis.
Mr. Osei was speaking at the SSNIT national award ceremony in Accra aimed to honour employers who had excelled in the performance of their statutory obligations under the social security scheme. Mr. Osei said the contributions were needed to help the Trust discharge its financial obligations to members as they fell due. "Moreover, with the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, employees eligibility for benefits under the scheme will depend on employers staying current on contributions to SSNIT." He said to retrieve the arrears and ensure compliance with the Law, SSNIT had embarked on a massive exercise to prosecute defaulting employers although the idea was not pleasing to some employers. He said the smooth implementation of the scheme depended on an effective partnership and collaboration among the administrators such as SNNIT, the contributors and pensioners.
"Employers as a group carry enormous responsibilities in the effective and efficient administration of the scheme. For, under the Social Security Law, employers are responsible for the registration of contributors in their employment, payment of the contributions on behalf of the employees and submission of accurate data to the administrators." The Director-General said those obligations could be very demanding but was happy that some employers had accepted the statutory responsibilities and had discharged them with great commitment. SSNIT, he said, would forge and step up education of employers to encourage them to honour their obligations saying knowledge of the provisions of the scheme was important to ensure compliance.
In a speech read for him, Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance lauded the contribution of SSNIT to the country's economic development, especially in the development of the capital market as the largest institutional investor on the stock exchange as well as in unlisted companies. He asked the management of SSNIT to evolve ways to meet the needs of the informal sector, which is the dominant sector of the country's economy. "Systems for the informal sector are yet to be developed to make the right impact. SSNIT, Insurance Companies and the Banking Community should work together to come out with financial services products for the informal sector," he added.