he Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has written a rejoinder to Whatsup News’ story on the Auditor General’s 2019 Report revealing SSNIT had blown Ghc1.1billion on ghost housing projects.
According to the rejoinder, Whatsup News’ report twisted the reports of the Auditor-General because, among other things, it did not state SSNIT’s responses to the issues raised by the A-G.
It adds that the RSS Klagon and Sakumono Housing projects which started in 2009 exist and therefore cannot be described as ghost projects as implied by the A-G’s report and Whatsup News’ story.
The full rejoinder is published below:
RE: SSNIT SQUANDERS GHC 1.1 BILLION PENSIONERS FUNDS
The attention of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has been drawn to a false publication on the Whatsup News Ghana online portal (whatsupnewsghana.com) with the above caption.
The Management of the Trust wishes to respond to the issues raised as follows:
1. It is misleading and unethical to state that the Auditor-General’s report of 2019 report “exposed SSNIT for blowing GHS 1.1 billion (US$185 million) on ghost housing projects” as published on your online portal. The article did not only distort facts but also failed to present the Trust’s responses as captured in the Auditor-General’s report. The publication sought to discredit the Trust and the current Management without any proof or evidence to back the claims made.
2. It is also instructive to note that no member of the current Management team and the immediate past Board was surcharged or accused of any malfeasance by the Auditor – General’s report. None of the issues raised in the Auditor-General’s Report regarding loans and bonds relate to the current Director-General, Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang, and the immediate past Board Chairman, Dr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor.
3. The RSS Klagon & Sakumono Housing Projects, which started in 2009, do exist and therefore cannot be described as ghost projects.
The current Management has obtained Board approval to swap completed housing units to offset part of the outstanding loans to reduce SSNIT’s loan exposure to RSS.
To guide the execution of future investments in the real estate sector, the Board and Management have rolled out a new Investment Policy and Guidelines with stricter and more rigorous investment appraisals.
4. It is unfortunate to link the Auditor-General’s Report to commendations of SSNIT made by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA). As indicated earlier, 06 APRIL, 2020 SSNIT the RSS projects predates this administration and issues raised around it can therefore not be deemed the fault of the current management team.
These are organisations of high repute who will not peddle falsehoods at the expense of the institutions they represent. Their commendations about SSNIT were based on the performance of
the current Management.
5. The TUC and GEA have representatives on the SSNIT Board of Trustees so their verdict on improvements in the operations of SSNIT is based on concrete and verifiable information. Permit us to refresh your memory on some of the achievements chalked under this Management:
Retirees now receive their first pension pay within 13 days of submitting their pension application as compared to the 47days it took before this administration took over.
Active contributors have grown by 28.35% from 1.27 million in December 2016 to over 1.63 million as of November 2020.
The number of employers paying SSNIT contributions has increased from 54,000 in December 2016 to over 65,000 in November 2020. This represents an increase of 21.04%.
The Trust exceeded contribution collection target of 9.7% by collecting a total of GH¢13.2 billion compared to a target of GH¢12.0 billion for the period.
The net assets of the Trust have grown from GHS8.405 billion in December 2016 to GHS9.52 billion as at October 2020.
Management, in 2019, introduced the distribution of electronic Statements of Account to all SSNIT Members as part of measures to cut down cost of printing statements, improve transparency and boost confidence of Members in the Scheme.
The Trust has since 2017 made total savings of about GH¢512 million. This comprises GH¢246 million on legacy investment transactions, net savings of over GH¢144 million as at16th December 2020 from the deactivation of pensioners from the payroll and savings overGH¢121 million on ICT Support Fees over the period. This was achieved through annual savings of US$4,456,038.22 and GH¢4,910,748.
There has been remarkable improvements in the Trust’s engagements with key stakeholders such as Pensioners, Employers and the TUC. Stakeholder engagements such as the Employers Breakfast Series, Public Education Road Shows with TUC and support for the National Pensioners Association attest to this open and improved relationship.
6. These achievements and many others is what informed the commendations of the TUC and GEAas well as the many awards the Trust has won in the last four years.
7. The Trust takes this opportunity to assure its stakeholders that Management will continue to consolidate the demonstrable gains made in the operations of the Scheme and will strive even harder to serve Members and Clients better. We urge stakeholders and the public to totally disregard the said publication and to be rest assured that workers’ contributions are safe and that SSNIT will at all times manage workers’ social security contributions judiciously to safeguard the ability to continue paying monthly pensions.