Former SSNIT boss justifies $66m investment on 'knotty' software

Former SSNIT boss justifies $66m investment on 'knotty' software
Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com|Edwin Appiah|edwin.appiah@myjoyonline.com
Date: 23-08-2017 Time: 01:08:08:pm
Ernest Thompson

Former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Ernest Thompson has justified the procurement of an ICT infrastructure at $66m explaining it was to improve its services to contributors and pensioners.

He told Joy News' Joseph Ackah-Blay "seriously speaking, it is not a very simple software".

Background

Image result for Ernest Thompson SSNIT biometric

The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), officially launched the technology in December 2016 by unveiling a brand new biometric terminal at the Pension house in Accra.

It is a self- service point which cuts waiting time by allowing contributors and pensioners to print statement of accounts, updates personal information and other services with the help of the SSNIT smart card.

Over 50 years administrative, benefits paid files, employer and member’s folders and numerous legacy files have been digitised, SSNIT has said.

Speaking at the launch, Ernest Thompson who had been with SSNIT  since 1982, said through the new infrastructure:

"We are able to identify contributors at a click of a button and we are able to pay benefits in no time, and we are also able to validate contribution reports online for payment on the SSNIT portal".

About 19 biometric terminals have been installed by SSNIT. 

New management raises questions

But new management have raised questions about the value of the biometric terminal. SSNIT is a subject of investigations by Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) at the invitation of new management.

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) has been engaged to review assets and liabilities of the Trust as of March 2017.

PwC is also doing a baseline assessment of SSNIT’s ICT system, Director-General Dr. John Ofori Tenkorang who was appointed March 2017, explained to Joy News.

Image result for Ofori Tenkorang SSNIT

He said the audit is not a political witch hunt. The audit will cost SSNIT about 500,000 cedis.

The former Director-General in his defence said although the ICT infrastructure was procured before he was appointed in May 2013, his checks showed the deal was okay.

"In fact I didn't find anything wrong with it and the new board did not find anything wrong with it", he said.

He said he came to find out that a team was sent to Malaysia for due diligence after which the Public Procurement Authority gave approval for payment.

Mr. Thompson said SSNIT had to biometrically re-register more than four million contributors as well as new contributors added to the system every month. SSNIT reportedly converted about 4.5 million folders and 80,000 paid files into an electronic medium.

Explaining the complexity, he said there are several modules within the system that work to make the terminal a one-stop shop for contributors.

He listed the registration, contribution, relationship channel benefits, compliance, fraud and business intelligence modules.

 

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