The total investment portfolio of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) increased from GH¢6.945 billion in 2014 to GH¢7.955 billion at the close of 2015, representing a positive variance of 14.55 per cent.
Of the amount, investment in equities constituted 43.17 per cent while fixed income is 36.48 per cent. The remaining 20.35 per cent of the total investment of the Trust is made up of alternative investments.
According to the 2015 annual report of SSNIT, gross investment income for the year 2017 stood at GH¢933.33 million, representing an increase of 28.53 per cent over the previous year’s figure of GH¢726.16 million. In nominal terms, the return for the year was 21.84 per cent, a decrease of 13.02 per cent compared to that of the prior year adjusted nominal return of 34.86 per cent.
The total establishment indebtedness to the scheme at the end of the year 2015 stood at a whopping GH¢640.89 million, with the government being the biggest debtor.
However, the total amount represented a decrease in the 2014 figure which stood at GH¢1,241.96 billion, representing 48.40 per cent.
Of the amount, public establishments, according to the annual report (including Controller and Accountant General’s Department and government subvented institutions), owed GH¢561.75 million while the remaining figure was owed by private establishments.
With regard to benefits payments, the Trust paid an amount of GH¢1,236 million as social security benefits in the year under review.
This represented an increase of 31.29 per cent over the previous year’s figure of GH¢941.27 million.
Of the 2015 total amount paid, GH¢1,117 million, representing 90.37 per cent was paid as pensions, while GH¢118.98 million, representing 9.63 per cent was paid as lump sums.
On the registration of new establishments and workers, a total of 4,642 new establishments with 188,183 new workers were registered into the scheme during the year under review.
This represented a shortfall of 8.93 per cent new establishments and an increase of 29.95 per cent new workers registered in the previous year.
Active contributors at the end of 2015 stood at 1,242,385, representing an increase of 4.48 per cent over the 1,189,168 active contributors recorded in 2014
A vivid breakdown of the figures above gives a clear indication that the scheme is well on course and, therefore, there is no cause for alarm.
However, with the recent brouhaha over the millions of United States dollars spent from the pension funds on information technology (IT) systems which, according to the managers of the scheme, is meant to transform the operations of the trust and make it more efficient to address the needs of contributors, many are those who have lost interest in the entire management of the scheme.
While some are calling for total overhaul of the scheme, others think that the scheme should be scrapped totally because the funds are not being well managed and contributors continue to earn meagre amounts after years of contributing to it.
However, in terms of real return on investments (RROI), the Trust posted 4.02 per cent 2015, exceeding the minimum benchmark of 0.77 per cent but way below what was recorded in 2014 when the real return on investment stood as high as 13.56 per cent.
But, in spite of the heavy drop in the RROI, external actuarial valuation of the scheme points to the fact that, at the current rate of 3.25 per cent, the fund could be sustained till the year 2032 and at RROI of 1.25 per cent, the fund could go up to 2030.
This, in other words makes the scheme look solvent except that the managers need to be more prudent, particularly with recurrent expenditure, to ensure that they maintained a minimum RROI of at least six per cent to sustain the scheme beyond 2050.
This will restore the confidence in the public, particularly those contemplating joining it and those already in it but are reluctant to declare their full income to contribute accordingly.
There is also the need for governments to ensure that they do not overly delay in redeeming their obligations to the Trust because a day lost in investment is a big loss to the contributors who are always yearning for higher returns.
It is equally necessary for workers to prevail on their employers to release their contributions to the scheme on time and most importantly, desist from under-declaring so that in the end, they will be guaranteed a decent pension.
Credit: Graphic Business