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The immediate past Director General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang has said goodbye to the staff.

In a farewell message exclusively available to 3news, Dr Ofori-Tenkorang thanked them for their support over the last 7 years.

He said among others that, “7 years is a very long time to have the privilege of holding such a high office; and for that I’m eternally grateful to H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic. Naturally, I’ve wondered if there were things l could have done differently, some more plans and activities I could have rolled out or implemented maybe? And yes, there are a few.”

Please read on:

  • Members of the Executive
  • Area Managers
  • Departmental Heads
  • Leadership of ID bodies, Colleagues
  • 2. Good afternoon and welcome. As you know, this will be my last address to staff in the light of recent happenings and I could not leave without meeting all of you and formally saying goodbye. I think it is only proper that I do that. I owe that to each and every one of you.
  • But I cannot do that one by one, so I decided to enlist the help of technology to help me to this as efficiently as possible.
  • 3. In the last few days, among many other things, I’ve taken the time to reflect on the last seven years and the path we have travelled together. 7 years is a very long time to have the privilege of holding such a high office; and for that I’m eternally grateful to H. E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic.
  • Naturally,I’ve wondered if there were things l could have done differently, some
    more plans and activities I could have rolled out or implemented maybe? And yes, there are a few.
  • 4. But then I looked back at the SSNIT my deputies and I came to meet in 2017 and the SSNIT we have now, and I am amazed at how far we have come.
  • To summarise;
    – Our image was so battered that we were being called thieves. We were embarrassed to wear our own corporate cloth and some external stakeholders were calling for SSNIT to be shut down.
  • What surprised me though in all of this negativity was that, I had people also tell me that SSNIT was a good place to work but they were quick to add that they will not give their money to SSNIT. The reasons they gave; I am sure we all know. (Lack of transparency, inadequate pensions, poor customer service, perceived corruption
    among several other reasons).
  • I have to confess at the time, it did cross my mind that maybe I had bitten more than I could chew. But I also remember that I told you that we were going to build an institution where people will voluntarily bring us their money.
  • 5. Fast forward to April 2024, I look at the SSNIT we have now and I must say I am a very happy man. Indeed, I am quite proud and you, my colleagues, should also be very proud of what we have achieved together.
  • Today we have managed to build a service – centered organization which can anticipate and meet the needs of stakeholders at their preferred touch points. We have:
    • Rolled out additional service delivery touchpoints to improve customer service such as Pensioners’ Priority Desk, DG – direct WhatsApp line, enhanced web portal and social media platforms (growing followership from a mere 7,000 in 2017 to over 526,000 as of March 2024).
  • ▪ Introduced and deployed a payment platform known as SSNITPAY to enhance contribution collection; Mobile money wallet (USSD code), SSNIT partner banks, direct debit card and Mobile Money options via the web portal and SSNIT branches.
    ▪ Implemented the distribution of quarterly electronic Statements of Account to all Members.
    ▪ Successfully rolled out the SSNIT and Ghana Card numbers merger. Over 2.3 million members including inactive contributors, pensioners and beneficiaries have merged their numbers so far. The GhanaCard is now the primary identification document for all SSNIT transactions.
  • This has eliminated the cost of printing biometric cards for new Members, reduced impersonation and fraudulent activities in payment of claims to pensioners and beneficiaries.
  • Our surveys show that the adoption of these business practices has improved customer satisfaction to 82.9% in 2022 against a performance of 69.7% in 2017.
    6. We have worked to sustain the Scheme through expansion of coverage, enforcement of compliance, prudent investment of funds, and responsible
    governance of the Trust.
  • • Increased active membership from 1,315,499 in 2017 to 1,951,494 in 2023, indicating a growth of 48.34%.
    • Rolled out the Self-employed Enrolment Drive (SEED), an initiative targeted at enrolling the self-employed as part of efforts to expand coverage of the Scheme. Since we started this drive, our active membership of self-employed persons on our schemes has more than quadrupled.
    • Improved average processing time for Pension application by 83%. The average processing improved from 47 days in 2016 to 8 days as of March 2024.
    • Made significant savings of GH¢876.61 million through restructuring of some legacy investments, rationalization of our ICT infrastructure and deactivation of some 19,100 “ghost” pensioners from the pension payroll.
  •  Implemented new investment guidelines and asset allocation policy approved by the Board of Trustees to improve investment returns.
  • Completed and monetised Government of Ghana affordable housing projects at Borteyman in Accra and Asokore Mampong, Kumasi.
    • Initiated the process for private sector participation in SSNIT hotels to
    enhance their viability.
    • Brought the International Social Security Association (ISSA) Liaison
    Office for West Africa from Cote d’ Ivoire to Ghana. These measures have contributed to the long-term sustainability of the Scheme and enhanced the visibility of SSNIT globally.
  • 7. SSNIT has now adopted state-of-the-art technology for the management
    and maintenance of accurate, complete, reliable bio and financial data on
    members. We have:
    • Deployed in 2022, the Integrated Social Security Administration System (iSSAS), a comprehensive operations system by our own MIS team. This has saved the Trust over US$2 million annually in support cost for its former operations software.
  • iSSAS provides superior functionality, allows us to offer enhanced services to our
    members and clients. Best of all, because it’s “homemade” we can keep tweaking to suit our purposes and whatever operational changes may come in the future at very minimal cost to the Trust.
  • Worked hard to digitalise our operations and service delivery by upgrading the existing SSNIT Website, Portal & USSD platforms and developed a SSNIT App, which is soon to be unveiled.
    • Implemented the seamless replication of systems between the primary and secondary data centres to prevent possible data loss and ensure business continuity.
    • Enhanced productivity by deploying a biometric attendance system to monitor staff attendance and for improved efficiency in the administration of the organization.
  • The deployment of these systems have significantly improved operational efficiency and enhanced service delivery to our Members and Clients.
  • 8. We have built and sustained stakeholder partnerships and confidence in
    the Trust by:
    • Extensively engaging the government through the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) to enhance contributions collection and also improved our symbiotic relationship with the Regulator (NPRA) through periodic engagements.
  • Initiating collaborations with the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) to connect to their databases to get on board all active registered establishments, informal sector groups and associations.
    • Instituting an open door policy with the National Pensioners Association (NPA) to discuss their concerns and also to appreciate them for their continuous support of the SSNIT Scheme.
    • Initiating strategic engagements with known critics of the Scheme to convert them into advocates. A number of these critics now have a better appreciation of the Scheme and in some cases advocate for SSNIT.
  • Holding periodic engagements with leadership of Organized Labour and self-employed associations/groups affiliated with the TUC nationwide. These meetings directly impacted over 4700 regional and district leaders of the TUC.
  • Training over 1,500 representatives from various organisations as focal persons to serve as a seamless link between the Trust and these organisations.
  • Engaging media to improve public perception of the Trust, recording average positive media coverage rate of 98.7% as of March 2024.• Holding 18 Breakfast meetings with compliant and highly indebted employers to improve voluntary compliance. Over 1,300 selected employers were engaged as part of this exercise.
    • Organising “SSNIT Info Shop” on selected university campuses. Over 11,000 students were engaged under this initiative.
    • Collaborating with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) to successfully compile and distribute over 200,000 SSNIT supplementary readers for JHS and SHS across the country. This is to whip up interest and deepen understanding of social security among young people.
    • Supporting the National Pensioners Association with a total donation of GHS 1,800,000 to the Pensioners Medical Scheme, among other interventions (vehicle, office accommodation)
    • Completing and handing over a 160-seating capacity Children’s Library and a Mobile Library Van to the Ghana Library Authority.
    Our surveys conducted show that these interactions have helped improve the corporate image of the Trust from 20.6% in 2017 to 54.4% in 2022 as well as increased public awareness of the Scheme from 41.4% in 2017 to 72% in 2022.
  • Colleagues, I state some of these key achievements not as an ode to myself, instead I state them to convey my heartfelt gratitude to the President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo for the opportunity to serve his government and my country. He took a chance on me even though he did not know me, and I am glad, together with you, I’ve been able to discharge the responsibilities to bring the honour to the government in my little but significant corner. And to each and every one of you, I thank you for your strength, your resilience, your commitment, support, hard
    work, criticism and counsel in the last seven years.
  • Everything I have been able to achieve is because of you. Thank you for buying into my vision, for allowing me to lead you and to learn and grow as a person.
    Throughout this 7-year journey there has been many highs and of course some lows. And often in those low moments, one person who has kept my spirits up and admonished me to soldier on has been H. E. Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President of the Republic. “My brother, don’t be distracted”, he says. “Focus on your work.
  • My father always told me one thing. Your work will always speak for you”. And the work that we have done since my occupying this high office is there for the whole nation to bear witness. And it’s been speaking for us in the last few days. Thank
    you, Dr. Bawumia, my good friend, for your encouragement and wise counsel.
  • Colleagues, I know that sometimes it’s been hard and our patience have been tested at both ends. And on occasion some of you have felt that I’d been unduly “stiff” or just plain difficult. Forgive me if you felt unfairly treated. What I am absolutely convinced about, though, is that every decision I have made in the last seven years has been guided by the enormity of the responsibility on our shoulders as managers of the collective future of workers in Ghana, the pensioners who rely on us for
    their livelihoods and the fact that this Scheme has to be there for you when
    you retire, and for generations after us.
  • When people entrust their hard-earned money into your care, you have a fiduciary duty to ensure that you render value to them, make sure they are satisfied, and by so doing keep your job. After all, if they do not bring us their money, none of us here will have any job to come to. So it is not everything that we wish for that we will get. In fact, we have to make sacrifices… and I’ve made a few that I feel at this point you should know about.
  • Let me share a few with you. As a member of the Board of Trustees, I’m entitled to sitting allowances each time I attend a Board Meeting or a Subcommittee meeting. That is my entitlement, enshrined in law. But I saw a conflict because I, by and large, determine how many meetings to have in a particular month. And if each time I call for a meeting, I get paid, then as you can imagine, something that can be done in one meeting may spill into 2 or more meetings, because I’ll get paid more. Therefore, because of this conflict that I saw, I have not collected one pesewa in board fees and sitting allowances during my 7-year tenure as the head of this
  • The good book says, all things are lawful but not all things are helpful. I revised down my approved conditions of service not to fly first class for my foreign travels even though I was entitled to it. I fly in the same class as all the executives. With the cooperation of the EXCO we removed the so-called travel days’ provision where one collects full per diem when you’re in the air. In the case of the DG, I could be getting paid an extra 2 days per diem for my outbound flight and 2 for my return flight.
  • So I stood to benefit more if we kept that provision. Among others, which I do not wish to enumerate here, I have made my fair share of personal sacrifices for the Trust. I hope and pray that you’ll remain circumspect in your wishes and demands so that the confidence in the Trust that we have managed to build would not be eroded.
  • As the good book says in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, To everything there is a season – and I must add in my own words, a time to begin and a time to end. So today, at no later than 4:30 pm, I’ll cease to be your Director-General. And I promise not to hold myself out or act as your D-G immediately and subsequently thereafter. I leave you in the flesh, but I’ll be with you in the spirit. 7 years of my life is here, so I remain part of you.
  • I’ll be praying for you, cheering you on to attain higher heights. And I’ll be sharing and rejoicing in your triumphs and successes. We must succeed and SSNIT must succeed and grow from strength to strength. For the benefit of all those on whose sweat and toil this country is built.
  • And now, to your new soon to be Ag. DG. We started this journey together. You’ve also been here 7 years – as long as I’ve been here. So you know the ropes. You know how this place works. So I’m sure you’ll be fine. I remember watching a short media clip somewhere in 2006. Ban Ki Moon had been elected Secretary General of the UN and had gone to see then then outgoing Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan. At the end of the meeting, the media ambushed Mr. Kofi Annan. And one of the questions asked was, Mr. Secretary General, what did you tell him. What advise did
    you give him? He answered, I told him to do it his way.
  • So DDG-IDD, soon to be Ag. DG, I’ll tell you the same. Do it your way. And now to the DDGs, Managers, and Staff, I ask you to offer Mr. Osafo Maafo your full support as he executes his vision for the Trust as you did for me. In fact, support him even more than you did for me so that we can consolidate and build on the successes that we have chalked so far together.
  • Now I would be remiss if I do not thank the 2 Boards that I have worked with in the past 7 years. The Addo Kufuor Board and the Elizabeth Ohene Board who have guided me in the handling of the affairs of the Trust during my tenure. I owe them a great debt of gratitude and to all the members of these Boards of Trustees, I say Thank you.
  •  To our stakeholders, organized labour, employers, pensioners and contributors … I thank you for support, and understanding. Our relationship was very frosty at the beginning but I’m happy to have been here to witness this relationship evolve from cacophony into a melodious choir singing in harmony from the same hymn sheet. We have traveled a long road and have come a long way.
  • And to all of you who have sent me countless messages and well wishes, I appreciate your kind words. May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face. I wish you Godspeed. Dr. John Ofori-Tenkorang…..OUT! Mic drop