The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says its efforts to cleanse the payroll system of ‘ghost’ pensioners are yielding the desired results.
According to the trust, about GH¢1.5 million was being saved monthly after it initiated an exercise to deactivate pensioners who had failed to comply with directives to register biometrically with the trust.
“In February this year, we started deactivating pensioners who, after several attempts to get them register biometrically, failed, but this has given the trust some significant improvement in its payroll,” the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang, told the media on the side-lines of a forum in Accra last Saturday.
Dubbed, the SSNIT Info Shop, the forum, organised by SSNIT, in collaboration with the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), was designed to help students appreciate how SSNIT could help them prepare, secure and take control of their lives before and beyond age 60 or in the event of permanent invalidity.
The trust has, since August last year, given notice, through the media, encouraging pensioners on the scheme to register biometrically in a move to protect the fund from being financially abused by non-existent retired persons.
Since February 2018, the trust has deactivated about 2,237 pensioners from its payroll and intends to remove the names of an additional 6,129 retirees in April this year.
The affected names include pensioners between 72 and 90 years and above.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang observed that although SSNIT received close to GH¢200 million per month from contributors, the same amount was used to pay off pensioners every month.
“It was for this reason that the trust embarked on an audit exercise, from which it was realised that its payroll has been bloated, hence the need for it to cleanse its payroll,” he said.
Almost a year ago, he said, SSNIT embarked on a sensitisation programme, during which it found out that the scheme’s payroll system did not reflect its pension population.
“What we realised was that when people die, it is not often reported, and those ghost pensioners continue to receive their benefits at the end of the month, a situation which financially over-burdens the trust,” he added.