From Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
A Total of 8,345 employers nationwide, as at December 2007, owed the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to the tune of GH¢54,442,670.00 (¢544.4billion) as non-payment of their social security contributions, Mr Amos Donkor, the Sunyani Area Accountant of SSNIT has disclosed.
He attributed the rising employer indebtedness to delays by some employers and those who refused to pay their contributions.
He said SSNIT had, therefore, adopted the prosecution of such defaulters as the last resort to help recover the amount owed SSNIT.
Mr Donkor made the disclosure at a day’s seminar to sensitise social security schedule officers of the various institutions and business concerned in the Sunyani area to the Employer Member Account Reconciliation (EMAR) system.
The EMAR is a computerised operational activity introduced by SSNIT, whereby monthly bills showing the financial status of establishments will be generated and distributed to employers to inform them about their financial status and also help promote excellent relations between SSNIT and employers.
Mr Donkor noted that the non-payment of contributions had some serious effects on the scheme, since it delayed the prompt and accurate processing of social security benefits as well as the administration of the scheme, adding that social security contributions were collected and invested to pay benefits to members as and when they were due for retirement.
He further disclosed that 492 employers in the Sunyani area were indebted to SSNIT to a total of GH¢442,971.89 and 33 of such employers were being prosecuted to recover the amount owed, since they had failed to take advantage of the window of negotiation as an opportunity to redeem their indebtedness to SSNIT.
He explained that SSNIT would prosecute for non-payment of contributions when those involved had not come forward for negotiations on how to redeem their indebtedness as a last resort.
Mr Samuel Nkansah, in charge of the Sunyani Branch of SSNIT, for his part, urged employees not to connive with employers to underdeclare their salaries, since pension benefits were paid based on the salary paid to them, saying that once they did that it would affect the payment of their benefit on retirement.
He disclosed that some establishments in Sunyani deducted the entire 17.5 per cent of pension contributions to be paid to SSNIT from the salaries of their employees, and noted that it was an offence for an employer to do such deductions
He explained that because the employee was supposed to pay only five per cent as social security contributions out of their salaries, while the employer topped it up with the 12.5 per cent, bringing the total to 17.5 per cent.
Mr Nkansah urged employers to endeavour to regularly update their SSNIT records, keep salary books, register all workers and submit their contributions report to SSNIT anytime payments of contributions were being made to ensure the success of the EMAR.