The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has lived up to its mandate to extend pension coverage to the self employed, under an initiative called the Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED).
The initiative seeks to admit many more contributors from the informal sector. It comes from the realisation that most persons in the informal sector are not covered by social security.
The Director General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, said at the launch of the intervention in Kumasi, on Wednesday, that the roll out is a function of stakeholder engagement throughout the country and that it intends to sign up 500,000 self-employed workers and reactivate 250,000 dormant contributors to provide them with social protection, reduce poverty and over-dependence on benefactors during old age.
He said SEED focuses on enrolling self-employed persons and workers in the informal sector on the SSNIT Scheme to contribute regularly on their full earnings.
He noted that SEED will help redefine social security and build financially and independent future for retirees in this category and thus give hope to the worker to retire in dignity.
He said the new SSNIT product will insure incomes of contributors for replacement in old age.
According to the Director General of SSNIT, SEED would help change the lopsided situation and increase total active membership of the Scheme which stood at 1.8 million as at March 2023.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang disclosed that 6.7 million workers out of the the estimated working population of 10 million are self-employed with 3.1 million falling between the age bracket of 15years and 45years.
Madam Elizabeth Ohene, the chairperson of the SSNIT Board of Trustees, said with 85% of the economy identified to be controlled by the self-employed, it is incumbent on the majority of the workers in the informal sector to be hooked onto the programme because all self employed deserve pension.
She suggested that pension should be a priority of the youth since it will ease their responsibilities and commitments in the future.
The Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright Wereko-Brobbey, assured that the government will at all times protect pension and that the government is committed to good policies for a secured future for pensioners.
Alhaji Sumaila Boakye, the Ashanti Regional chairman of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), assured that the GPRTU is ready for SEED.
He said the union has over 130 branches with sizeable membership in the Ashanti region and urged member drivers to register.
Nana Osei Kwadwo II, Otumfuo’s Mmamensenhene, congratulated SSNIT for introducing SEED, though long overdue, describing it as a laudable initiative to protect future of a larger section of the working class in the informal sector.