Akufo-Addo’s claim on number of self-employed SSNIT registration completely false

President Nana Akufo-Addo on February 27, 2024, delivered his penultimate State of the Nation address, giving insights into the performance of his government in the last seven years.

Laced with numbers and heavy on New Patriotic Party (NPP) re-election themes, the president accounted for some of the government’s key flagship projects, including Free senior high school education, One District One Factory, and Planting for Food and Jobs.

He also took credit for the number of informal sector workers registered for the country’s tier-one pension scheme—the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claim President Akufo-Addo made and presents the facts below.

Claim: “In May last year, SSNIT launched the Self-Employed Enrolment Drive (SEED), an initiative which seeks to improve coverage and increase the contributor base of the SSNIT Scheme. Since the launch of the SEED initiative, some six hundred thousand (600,000) self-employed persons have been enrolled onto the programme, and now have some form of social security cover.”

Verdict: Completely False

Explanation: The SEED programme was launched in May 2023 to fulfil SSNIT’S mandate to extend pension coverage to all workers, including the self-employed.

At the launch of the initiative in Kumasi, the Director-General of SSNIT, Dr John Tenkorang said that out of the 1.9 million active SSNIT contributor base, just 32,000 — representing about two per cent — were self-employed persons, “implying that most self-employed workers would have to rely on the state or family and friends for financial support when they are old and retired”.

To verify the President’s claim that because of the initiative 600,000 people had registered for the SEED project, Fact-Check Ghana wrote to SSNIT requesting information on the number of self-employed people who have registered for SSNIT from 2016 to 2023.

Through the right to information (RTI), Fact-Check Ghana has established that in 2023 less than 59,000 people registered under the SEED initiative which is meant to encourage workers in the informal sector to join the tier-one pension scheme as contributors.

Number of Self-employed people registered for SSNIT from 2016-2023

Year Number of contributors registered
2017 9,840
2018 15,596
2019 23,250
2020 25,087
2021 36,823
2022 18,018
2023 58,854

Source: SSNIT

In November last year, the SSNIT Director-General had in a media interview indicated that from about 14,200 in May 2023, the number of self- employed persons registered by the fund had risen to over 57,000 as of October 2023.  This is consistent with the 2023 figure SSNIT released to Fact-check Ghana. But it is at variant with the President’s 600,000 quoted in his State of the Nation address.

Put together, the number of self-employed people who had registered for SSNIT contributions from 2017-2023 is 187,468, which is still less than the President’s claim for people who registered in 2023 alone.

Further bolstering the fact that SSNIT registration among the self-employed is low, Fact-Check Ghana found that figures from the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) show that as of 2021, only about 600,000 out of an estimated 10.2 million workers in the informal sector are currently enrolled on at least a pension scheme.

It is therefore completely false that 600,000 self-employed people registered for SSNIT contributions in 2023 alone, as President Akufo-Addo claimed.

Related articles