THE Sunyani Area Manager of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Mr Stephen Asamoah, has pledged the readiness of SSNIT to assist employers on the new SSNIT Scheme under the National Pension ACT 2008, ACT 766 to ensure its smooth implementation and success.
He gave the assurance at a day’s employers’ seminar on the new SSNIT Scheme under the National Pension ACT 2008, ACT 766 in Sunyani last Friday.
He, therefore, called for co-operation from employers and entreated them to pay the monthly contributions of their employees promptly, as stipulated under the new act, adding that they should also provide accurate data on members to prevent the unnecessary delays when one went on retirement.
Mr Asamoah further advised employers not to under-declare the salaries of their employees, since that would affect their pension.
He urged them to pay the contributions of all newly engaged workers, whether casual or permanent, as failure to do so would attract heavy sanctions under the new act.
The National Pension Act was passed by Parliament and it received Presidential Assent on December 4, 2008 and gazette notification on December 12, 2008 as its effective date.
The Act provides for pension reforms in Ghana by the introduction of a contributory three-tier pension scheme comprising a first tier mandatory defined Basic National Social Security Scheme, a second tier mandatory fully funded and privately managed Occupational Pension Scheme and a third tier voluntary fully funded Provident Fund and Personal Pension Scheme.
Speaking on the topic: “Employers’ obligation under the Act”, Mr Asamoah said under the new Act, a worker contributed 5.5 per cent of his/her basic salary and the employer added 13 per cent of the worker’s basic salary, making a total of 18.5 per cent.
He added that out of the 18.5 per cent, the employer should remit 13.5 per cent within 14 days after the end of each month to SSNIT.
He stated further that no employer should contribute less than 13.5 per cent of the approved equivalent of the national minimum wage from January 2010, even if the employee earned below the minimum wage.
The Customer Affairs Officer for the Kumasi and Sunyani Area offices, Mrs Ivy Zormelo, who spoke on the general overview of the act, said a National Pensions Regulatory Authority had been established under the new act to oversee the administration and management of pension schemes in the country, while SSNIT had been tasked to manage the first tier mandatory basic National Social Security Scheme.
She added that the creation of the three-tier contributory systems under the new act would replace the current parallel SSNIT and the Cap 30 Pension schemes and bring about unification of all existing public schemes within a period of five years from the commencement of the act.
Mrs Zormelo said the objectives of the three-tier scheme were to ensure retirement income security for workers, ensure that every worker received retirement and related benefits as and when required and set up uniformed rules, regulations and standards for the administration and payment of retirement and related benefits for both public and private sector workers.
She stated said the three-tier scheme covered workers in both the private and the public sectors and those exempted from it were officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces and categories of persons exempted by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana or expressly exempted by any other law .
She said the employer should, within 14 days from the end of each month, transfer 13.5 per cent of the mandated 18.5 per cent deduction to the first-tier mandatory Basic Social Security Scheme (SSNIT) and five per cent to the second-tier mandatory occupational scheme.
Mrs Zormelo stated that the minimum entry age for the scheme under the act was 15 years, while the maximum was 45 years, adding that those who had attained the age of 55 and above were exempted but it was optional for them and those category of workers would continue to pay the old 17.5 per cent until they retired.
Mr Forson Avakame of the SSNIT Office in Sunyani, who spoke on the presentation of new contribution reports, urged employers to submit prompt reports and also ensure that all information provided was accurate to enhance efficiency.
He said contribution reports must be submitted, whether contributions were remitted to the trust or not, while the payment of contributions must be accompanied with contribution reports.