The Management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has said it cannot accept a proposal made by former President John Dramani Mahama that the Trust should pay contributors some moneys following the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to SSNIT, acting on such a proposal from the former Ghanaian leader and currently the flagbearer of the main opposition national Democratic Congress (NDC) will go against the laws of the land.
Mr Mahama appealed to the management of SSNIT to support contributors at this moment of the coronavirus outbreak.
He explained that social security contributions are, essentially, an insurance scheme made not just for pensions in old age before contributors die.
In a Facebook Live session on Thursday, 23 April 2020 on Ghana’s COVID-19 situation, the NDC flag bearer said: “My office has been flooded with correspondence from many working-class people, especially in the private sector, who have not received their February and/or March salaries, and are having a difficult time feeding and taking care of their families.
“The lockdown may have been lifted but many businesses are still down and suffering. Employees are suffering, too, just as the many players in the informal sector.
“It makes me wonder why our SSNIT has not been responsive in this time of need of many contributors. Social Security contributions are, essentially, an insurance scheme made not just for pensions in old age before we die.
“They are also meant to help contributors in times of adversity such as this. Remember that not all will come out and queue for food. Not all will come out of their homes to receive the food boxes we hand over.
“But as has been done in other countries like St. Lucia, I think a token payment to all contributors of a certain token sum over three months would have afforded many the assurance of feeding their families during these abnormal times.”
But SSNIT in a statement said : ““…The benefits His Excellency is suggesting that we pay do not exist in law. To do so will constitute an illegality and a contravention of the provisions of the National Pensions Act, 2008, Act 766.”
SSNIT also stated that “the Trust is a creature of law emanating from the National Pensions Act, 2008, Act 766 which governs the administration of SSNIT and all other pension schemes in the country”.
The trust cited the circumstance under which it can make payments as Old Age Pension, Invalidity Pension when a worker becomes permanently incapacitated, Old Age Lump Sum Benefit which is a refund of contributions with interest and the Survivors’ Lump Sum Benefit which is made to nominated dependants of a deceased contributor.