The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) organised a one-day workshop in Accra for selected journalists to help them understand the recently launched Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED).
The workshop afforded participating journalists to understand how the initiative will provide pensions and other benefits to self-employed workers in the informal sector.
It focuses on fulfilling the Trust’s (SSNIT) mandate to provide pension coverage to all workers, particularly self-employed workers.
Speaking at the workshop, Public Addairs Manager of SSNIT Charles Akwei Garshong said SEED is an initiative that focuses on extending pension coverage to self-employed persons and workers in the informal sector on the scheme.
Currently, some 38,000 SSNIT contributors are self-employed.
The figure was below 15,000 until the launch of the initiative, essentially a repacking of the Tier 1 product.
He defined a self-employed person as anyone who works for himself or herself or runs their own business, which includes consultants, architects, lawyers, traders, dressmakers, musicians, actors, online business owners, artisans, and mechanics.
He emphasised that self-employed individuals who have contracted the services of workers are required to pay social security contributions on behalf of their employees, such as housekeepers, security personnel, shop attendants, and others.
SEED according to him, will provide income replacement and ensure that self-employed workers have a guaranteed source of income during old age, or permanent disability; provide policy by paying the survivors of members who pass on (Survivor’s Lump Sum); Fulfil mandate placed in SSNIT to provide pension for all workers in the country; increase the number of self-employed persons contributing to the scheme, reduce poverty and over-dependence on benefactors including family, friends, relations and the state).
He says the informal sector accounts for approximately 85% of Ghana’s economy, with 6.7 million self-employed people out of a total working population of 9.9 million.
He stated that it was SSNIT’s responsibility to ensure that every worker in Ghana has social protection.
Self-employed persons are to declare monthly salary, and pay 13.5% of the declared salary monthly; flexible payment plans are available monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually (in advance).
Declared salaries can only be adjusted annually, he added.
To help drive the initiative, SSNIT has launched ‘Ye W) Abonten,’ a campaign that will take place on the last Friday of each month.
SSNIT staff will storm targeted locations such as churches, markets, and mosques, among others, to educate the public about SSNIT, particularly SEED, and register it to enrol self-employed and informal sector workers.
Aside from these approaches, SSNIT would also implement the SMS lite, a mini form of an SMS week held once every month in communities around the branches to educate, serve and enrol self-employed and informal sector workers.
He appealed to the media to among other things lead and drive publicity of the SEED initiative to ensure its success and generate story ideas and news stories around retirement planning and social protection.