By Dickson Boadi
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), in collaboration with the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) organized an information-sharing forum on KNUST campus to enlighten students about the importance of social security.
The forum, dubbed SSNIT Info Shop, was held with the objective of helping university students to appreciate how SSNIT can help them to prepare, secure and take control of their lives before and beyond age 60 or in the event of permanent invalidity.
The forum which was themed “SSNIT! Your security for tomorrow”, was attended by over 1000 KNUST students, Dean of Students, lecturers, USAG and NUGS Presidents and the KNUST SRC President. Also present were executives of SSNIT including the Director General, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang; General Manager, Benefits, Mrs. Rosemary Amerley Sackey; PPM Manager, Miss Patience Owusu; Area manager Kumasi, Mr. Frank Mobila; Adum and Asafo Branch Managers and a Registration Team from Kumasi.
In his address, the Director General of SSNIT, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang said the primary objective of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is to ensure retirement income security for workers and guarantee that every worker receives retirement and related benefits as and when due.
Dr. Ofori-Tenkorang therefore encouraged students to secure their future by registering and contributing to the Scheme when they start working.
“Whether it’s your own small startup or you are working for someone, I strongly urge you to register today with our officers who are here and start your contributions, because you see, the scheme is set up to receive contributions from members from age 15”, Dr. Tenkorang remarked.
Dr. Tenkorang further noted that instead of seeing old age as a distant reality, they should take social security seriously because everyone is exposed to the contingencies of old age, invalidity and death.
He told students: “Before you can blink they will be calling you “aunty”, “ma”, “uncle” “daddy”, “chief” or “bossu” which is also a code for middle age, I find. From then on, it will only be a matter of years before your active work years are over and retirement beckons. This is the time, when reality hits and you find your major source of income gone or dwindled to insignificant numbers, your children gone, and your health also begins to fail you. At this point, it is almost as if all the forces of the universe have conspired against you.”
Dr. Tenkorang also stated that SSNIT has made significant contributions to the development of tertiary education in Ghana because the Trust recognizes students not only as future leaders but also as potential work force key to the sustainability of the Pension Scheme.
“Our hostel here and the several others at University of Ghana, Legon, University of Cape Coast, University College of Education, Winneba, UDS, Navrongo, UDS, Nyankpala (Tamale) housing close to 5000 students is a demonstration of our commitment to youth development and our desire to nurture the incoming work force. But perhaps, our greatest contribution to the sector is the Student Loan Scheme now administered by the Students Loan Trust Fund (SLTF) which provides financial support to thousands of students so they can complete their education”, the SSNIT boss remarked.
The students on the other hand were very excited about the program and stated that they look forward to more of such programs in the future.
The Dean of students on his part lauded the Trust for partnering with USAG to engage students in Social Security. He appealed to the Trust to make the SSNIT Info Shop a yearly affair.
The program which included a float on campus, presentations by SSNIT officials, radio discussions on SSNIT and quizzes with awards is scheduled to be repeated at the University of Ghana.