SSNIT to offer long-term cash

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says it has adequate long-term capital to fund various economically-viable projects in the country.

“We must continue to be the centre of social and economic transformation for Ghana to ascend to the next level. Looking at the economy we have the funds for long-term development of the country,” Ernest Thompson, Director of SSNIT, said at the launch of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the scheme’s establishment.

The SSNIT has invested in energy, housing, commercial properties, transport, and financial sectors in the country.

The Trust has over 1.2 million contributors with 48,800 establishments. Its monthly payroll is GHc 53.5million for the 148,000 pensioners.

Long-term capital for infrastructure development has been a major concern for government over the years. The Finance Ministry estimates that sustained spending of US$1.5billion per annum is required over the next 10 years to address the shortfall in infrastructure — water, power, roads, and rail.

The power sector value chain — production, transmission and distribution — requires millions of dollars to change old transformers, install new transmission lines, and investments in more thermal power to bridge the current shortfall in power.

The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) also requires about US$2billion for planned projects spanning a ten-year period in order to offer and sustain the supply of urban water delivery.

The Ministry of Transport is also seeking funding to rehabilitate existing railways in the country, to facilitate the transportation of minerals and cash crops from the hinterlands to the ports for export.

However, packaging of many of these projects so as to adequately inform investors of its viability and ability to pay back contracted loans has been the missing link.

Central government’s initial attempt was establishment of the Ghana Infrastructure Fund. The GIF was set up to address the widening gap; however, it is yet to be operational.

Parliament in July approved the Petroleum Revenue Management (Amendment) bill 2015, which is expected to help the country efficiently manage revenue from crude oil and also empower government to set aside proceeds from crude oil sales for infrastructural development.

The new bill, which has been passed to fix lapses in the management of oil revenue under the previous legislation, is also needed to help government channel revenue from crude oil into the Ghana Infrastructure Fund.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently told Reuters that: “Right now we have to do everything we can to bring together the bankable (infrastructure) projects that — even in a period of low growth — will attract private investors.

“If governments move right now, quickly, in enacting the kinds of structural reforms they need to enact, the investments will continue to flow,” he said.