The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is set to launch a new initiative called the Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED). This initiative aims to provide social security cover for more individuals from the informal sector.
According to the Director General of SSNIT, Dr. Tinkorang, the SEED initiative was informed by the lack of social security coverage for most persons in the informal sector. Currently, social security coverage in the country has overly focused on the formal sector, leaving out many self-employed individuals.
Although the SSNIT has seen an increase in its active membership from about 1.2 million in 2017 to over 1.8 million as of March 2023, this number is still insufficient compared to the estimated working population of 9.9 million, with 6.7 million being self-employed.
Furthermore, statistics from the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) show that only 600,000 self-employed persons have some form of social security cover, leaving about 90 percent without any coverage.
To address this, the SEED initiative will focus on enrolling self-employed persons and workers in the informal sector on the SSNIT Scheme to contribute regularly on their full earnings. The initiative aims to sign up 500,000 self-employed workers and reactivate 250,000 dormant contributors to provide them with social protection, reduce poverty, and over-dependence on benefactors during old age and in the event of permanent invalidity.
Contributors who qualify will receive a regular source of income, a monthly pension during old age until death, disability insurance, and life policy by paying the survivors of members who pass on lump sums. Additionally, members will be exempted from paying National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) premiums, and above all, every worker will have social protection.
In a nutshell, the SEED initiative is a comprehensive strategy by SSNIT management to improve coverage and increase the contributor base, providing social protection for self-employed individuals and workers in the informal sector. The initiative is a step towards ensuring that every worker has social protection and reducing poverty among the elderly in the country.