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SSNIT organises best media reporter awards

 

Accra, Feb. 16, GNA – Dr Frank Odoom, Director General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), said the introduction of the National Pensions Scheme has brought some challenges to the Trust in terms of contribution rate.

 

Accra, Feb. 16, GNA – Dr Frank Odoom, Director General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), said the introduction of the National Pensions Scheme has brought some challenges to the Trust in terms of contribution rate.

      He said the contribution rate had been reduced from 17.5 per cent to 13.5 per cent while benefits had been enhanced by shortening the time to qualify for monthly benefits from 20 years to 15 years.

     The guaranteed period for benefits had also been increased from 12 years to 15 years.

      Dr Odoom, who made this known at the Social Security Best Media Reporters Awards night in Accra on Friday, said despite those reversals, the Trust had reviewed its investment strategies and policies to energise the investment portfolio.

       The awards were instituted to help encourage the media to get involved in educating the public on social security and also to extend corporate social responsibility to the media through “SSNIT Media Partnership”.

       Dr Odoom said the Trust had invested in the Tema Cenit Thermal Power Plant, owned by CENIT Energy, a subsidiary of SSNIT, which is set to add 126 megawatts of electricity to the National Grid by the second week of October.

      SSNIT has also invested in Sentuo Steel in Tema, a joint venture between a Chinese corporation and SSNIT, to produce 3,000 metric tonnes of iron rods and the construction of a Shopping Mall Complex at Dunkonah.

     He said SSNIT was paying 50 million cedis on monthly basis to the 120, 000 pensioners on its pension payroll as at January 2013 whilst it also registered more than a million workers as its active contributors within the period.

    Dr. Odoom, however, said pensioner population was increasing at about 11 per cent annually as against workers enrolment into the scheme which was also increasing at about four per cent annually.

     He said the balance was not a good one and SSNIT was working hard to register more workers to improve the figure.

    He said the Trust was opened to all manner of workers to contribute to the scheme irrespective of the work they did and appealed to the media to encourage employers who denied workers of their basic right by not contributing on their behalf to do so.

    The Director General SSNIT had employed the indexation method as an innovative mechanism to redistribute pension by treating all pensioners equally, irrespective of their earning whilst in active service.

     He said the 2013 indexation of a fixed rate of 12.0 per cent and a flat amount of 21. 36 Ghana cedis per pensioner were applied to give an indexation of 22.6 per cent.

      He said the minimum pension was also increased from 50.46 Ghana cedis in 2012 to 100.00 Ghana cedis this year to help alleviate old age poverty.

     Dr Odoom said social security was a basic human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) which every Ghanaian must know.     

     “We live in a society where people start to ask questions about social security only when they are about to retire or are faced with the loss of income or the death of a bread winner who was a member of the scheme,” he said.

     He said many Ghanaians remained uninformed about social security and pension, while some workers did not know the contribution rates pertaining to the employer and the worker and appealed to workers to improve their knowledge on the scheme.

     He appealed to the media to help educate the public about the social security issues such as contribution collection, investments and payment of benefits.

      Mr. Kabral Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission, who graced the occasion, said SSNIT had done a lot for the media, especially in the area of providing them with accommodation.

     He appealed to the media to always look at the total contribution of SSNIT and  tell its good stories as well to the public.

     Mr Andrew D. Agblobi of the Business Financial Times, was declared 2011 best SSNIT Media Reporter and would undergo two weeks training on Pension and Social Security at the International Labour Organisation Training Centre in Turin, Italy with all expenses paid by SSNIT.

     Madam Dzifa Emma Tetteh of Ghanaian Times and Mr Charles B. Okine of Graphic also took home a plaque each as their prize.

     The Business Financial Times won the best print media house award and took away a laptop computer and a plaque while Radio Unique was presented with a plaque.

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