P.O. Box TU 55,
29th September, 2015
The Chief Executive Officer,
National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA),
Petition against the Intended Celebration of 50 Years Of Social Security In Ghana
As a Member of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), I consider it my responsibility to draw your attention to advertisements put out in respect of its 50thAnniversary and to request that you take appropriate steps to stop the SSNIT from undertaking the projects indicated therein because the intended actions are not within its mandate.
This petition is addressed to you as the Authority responsible for regulating Pensions in Ghana, which mandate includes ensuring the efficient and effective administration of Pensions towards ensuring retirement income security for the ultimate protection and promotion of the interests of pensioners. I understand, in particular, and believe same to be true that the Authority is under obligation, inter alia, to regulate the activities of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust to ensure compliance with the provisions of the National Pensions Act, as amended.
One of such full-page advertisements appeared in the Thursday 3rd September,2015 issue of the Daily Graphic, which may have been brought to your attention. It is indicated therein that SSNIT intends to contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana as well as supporting the provision of Social Protection in Ghana through three (3) Construction Projects to be undertaken.
(1) Forty (40) Community Police Stations to be distributed among eleven (11) Police Administrative Regions in pursuance of police discernability across the Country to augment the Police Visibility Agenda since their work contributes immensely to Social Protection.
(2) An Ultra-Modern Children’s Library thus proactively providing a helping hand in the development of its future contributors, specifically children, and to support lifelong learning
(3) A Sports Complex in respect of which it is stated that the Trust’s Corporate Social Responsibility activity has taken on more to ignite the passion and anxiety in Sports among Ghanaians . The facility is expected to attract people of all walks of life and be used to train various talents, while helping the promotion of fitness and good health. It will also contribute, it is said, to social connectedness – a feeling of community in a form of social protection.
It is inconceivable that the Trustees of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust would seek to assume responsibilities that are not within the remit or mandate of the Trust .I understand that in the operation of the Social Security Scheme, the Trust is to ensure the provision of social protection for the working population for various contingencies including old age, invalidity and death. In so doing, it is restricted to providing for its membership, who are contributors to the Scheme .Can SSNIT assume the responsibility of providing for people of all walks of life or its future contributors? It is hereby submitted that SSNIT’s Social Protection obligations are restricted and should be restricted to Social Security Contingencies. It cannot seek to take on more to ignite any passion or anxiety anywhere.
[pullquote]As a Member of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), I consider it my responsibility to draw your attention to advertisements put out in respect of its 50thAnniversary and to request that you take appropriate steps to stop the SSNIT from undertaking the projects indicated therein because the intended actions are not within its mandate.[/pullquote]
SOCIAL PROTECTION WITHOUT LIMITS?
While on this issue, I also wish to draw your attention to observations on certain practices in the operations of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) which must cease without delay. Notable among these include the assumption of Social Responsibility to mourn with communities in which SSNIT operates ,the Social Responsibility of giving back to society and making donations on behalf of Ghana, donating to cater for supporters of the National Team, the Black Stars as well as support for potential contributors through the National Sanitation Programme.
DONATION TO FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS-In the Report of the Commission of Enquiry into matters relating to the Participation of the Black Stars Team in the World Cup Tournament in Brazil 2014, SSNIT is listed on the roll of Sponsors for Supporters as having contributed GHC1,000,000.00 (One Million Ghana Cedis ).What could have been the motivation for such spending. And to which Account is such expenditure debited .Is it listed as an Operational Expense, and to which of the specified Social Security Contingencies does this relate. ?
FUNERAL DONATIONS-A report on page 20 of the Friday, 16th August, 2002 issue of the Daily Graphic has it that SSNIT made a presentation of cash and drinks to the Asogli Traditional Area towards the funeral rites of the Agbogbomefia of Ho. The leader of the five-member delegation is reported to have said that it is part of their social responsibility to mourn with the community in which they operate. Another operational expense? It can be assumed that many of such presentations have been made and continue to be made, as a` social responsibility’ .Such expenditures are clearly inappropriate and out of order, regardless of the status or standing in society of the personality whose funeral is being observed. Not even for the funeral of a President will payment from the corpus of the Fund be proper. That is not to say that no donation can be made from the accumulation of personal contributions from Members of the Board of Trustees, Management and Staff. This is the appropriate thing to do.
DONATION TO BENEFIT POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTORS-On pages 24 of the Saturday,10th January,2015 issue of the Daily Graphic, SSNIT is reported to have presented items worth GhC43,120 to the Ministry of Local Government. The reason for the donation, attributed to the Corporate Affairs Manager, Ms.Eva Amegashie is because many young people who constitute a significant portion of the Country’s population were potential contributors to the SSNIT Pension Fund, hence the need to protect the populace to live a healthy life by ensuring a clean environment.
DONATION ON BEHALF OF GHANA-Another in the series of donations is reported on page 33 of the Saturday 4th July, 2015 issue of the Spectator. This has the Corporate Affairs Manager of SSNIT, presenting a cheque for GhC206,440 to the Burns and Plastic Surgical Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. The presentation was said to be part of SSNIT’s social responsibility to give back to the society. The gesture, she is reported to have added, was not just coming from SSNIT but from Ghana since Ghanaians are the contributors to the State Pension Scheme. SSNIT giving back to society and making a donation on behalf of Ghana? What is this, please?
The fundamental question that arises is whether or not the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) can make donations, and if so, to whom. ?
WHAT IS THERE TO CELEBRATE?
Against the background of the disappointing performance of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust in the delivery of retirement income security for members of the Scheme, one may ask, What is there to celebrate and who is celebrating what, is it the Trustees calling for a celebration or members of the Scheme?
The 50th Anniversary of formal Social Security needs to be observed, not celebrated. It should be a period for stock-taking and a surgical assessment of the administration of the Scheme, focused at addressing the challenges facing the Scheme to ensure that it is kept afloat. Is the return on SSNIT’s investments satisfactory, who manages the investments?
The Presidential Commission on Pensions appointed in August, 2004 in response to workers’ agitations made a number of recommendations towards restoring the confidence of members in the Scheme. To what extent have the recommendations accepted in the 2006 White Paper been implemented? And how are we faring, five (5) years into the implementation of the three-tier pension scheme?
“I note in particular that the actuarial study which was done, kind of put SSNIT in some danger. If we did not make one or two major decisions, we could endanger the Scheme going into a decade or more—three decades forward………”.This is attributed to the Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations in the Wednesday, 27th May, 2015 Official Report of Parliamentary Debates. It is self- explanatory and is quoted here without any comment.
I thank you for your attention.
cc: Secretary General, Trades Union Congress (TUC), Accra.
Secretary General, Ghana Federation of Labour (GFL), Accra.
General Secretary, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Accra.
General Secretary, National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Accra.
General Secretary, Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Accra.
General Secretary, University Teachers’Association of Ghana (UTAG), Accra.
General Secretary, Polytechnic Teachers’ Association of Ghana (POTAG), Accra.
General Secretary, SSNIT Pensioners’ Association, Accra
Executive Director, Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA) , Accra
President, Ghana Association of University Administrators (GAUA), Accra
President, Ghana Government Pensioners’ Association, Accra
Executive Secretary, Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana, Accra