Mr Kwasi Boatin, Director-General of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) on Friday said its subsidiary Informal Sector Scheme has the potential to facilitate the development efforts of government due to its capacity for enormous savings mobilization.
He said pension funds play significant role in the development of financial markets and could serve as sources of business and development capital. Mr Boatin disclosed this at the inauguration of the Hohoe Contact Office of the SSNIT Informal Sector Fund, first of a kind in the Volta Region. He said the Fund is therefore envisioned to become the leader in the provision of social protection schemes for business entities in the informal sector through innovative product designs and excellent customer care.
Mr Boatin said the Fund was established following a study recommendation to expand the social security coverage of an estimated 85 percent of the economically active population that were not being served under the SSNIT Pension Scheme. Nana Fredua Agyeman Pambuo I, Chairman of the Executive Council of SSNIT Informal Sector Fund said the Fund was setting up the necessary infrastructure and systems to facilitate its business processes, and explore an avenue for an estimated nine million prospective clients to grow the size of the Fund.
Nana Pambuo said the Fund would work harmoniously with all relevant state and regulatory agencies to ensure successful implementation of the scheme. He was optimistic that the SSNIT Informal Sector Pension Scheme would provide unique opportunities for all workers to save toward a happy life in retirement. Colonel (rtd) Cyril Necku, Deputy Volta Regional Minister said government had demonstrated enough commitment towards the implementation of a three-tier National Pension Scheme. He said following from the passage of the National Pensions Law (ACT 766), a national pension regulatory authority to oversee the administration and management of registered schemes has been earnestly completed.
Col Necku however urged management of the Fund to work hard, make prudent investments and pay benefits promptly, to earn the confidence of contributors to increase membership. Dr Francis Sapara-Grant, Managing Director of the Fund said the Fund currently operates through four branch offices and 11 contact outlets in six regions with a total membership of 40,000 as of July 2009, hoping to expand to the rest of the regions to give it a national character. He said the Hohoe Contact Office, within three weeks has registered over 300 new clients and collected contributions in excess of GH˘ 2,000.
Dr Sapara-Grant said the Fund's benefits include old age retirement pension, lump sum, disability, survivor's benefit, with the capacity of members to use their occupational scheme account as collateral to secure credit from approved financial institutions. Mr Victor-Hermann, Hohoe Municipal Chief Executive, who presided, said failure to cultivate the culture of savings on earnings compounded the vulnerability of the worker, particularly in the informal sector at pension. He called for vigorous educational regimes to create the necessary awareness to serve as the pull factor.
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