…As SSNIT Board Sets Them Up To Silly Fight Over OBS
The tug-of-words between Prof. Joshua Alabi and Mr. Kwame Peprah, together with Mr. Ernest Thompson, over the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT)’s Operational Business Suite (OBS) appears to have been deliberately set off by the new Board of SSNIT.
The inflated cost of the OBS, which has led to Prof. Alabi, a guru of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who is aspiring to be the party’s flagbearer in 2020, washing down his hands at Mr. Kwame Peprah, a founding member of the NDC, leading to Mr. Peprah, in turn, calling Prof. Alabi a liar, is apparently just a cost buildup that does not bother on malfeasance.
However, as the two NDC guru slug it out, with Ernest Thompson, former MD of SSNIT, looking like a pick-on, the impression that there has been malfeasance involved in the whole saga is because the new SSNIT Board is not speaking up.
The cost of the OBS, which was acquired in 2014, has shot up from $27million to $72million, mainly because of system modifications that were made to fine-tune it for the operations by SSNIT yearly support fees and maintenance charges.
However, in addition to these, delay in fully installing the system is a factor that is causing the cost of the project to feed on itself and balloon.
It is said that if the installation is not completed soon, the cost of the OBS could shoot up to $80million by the end of the year.
The SSNIT Board, headed by Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, is very much aware of this, but appears to have deliberately kept quiet on it and allowed pro-NPP media have a field day churning out rumours that are laced with insinuations that the former Board of SSNIT pocketed money from the acquisition.
As the rumours fly around, Prof. Joshua Alabi, a respected member of the NDC, has rushed to claim that the money spent on the OBS was sanctioned by a previous Board that had been chaired by Kwame Peprah.
Kwame Peprah, on his part, has also said that his Board never sanctioned payment over the acquisition and that Prof. Alabi lied in his claim that the previous Board had approved the spending.
As a result of the tug-of-words, Mr. Ernest Thompson, former MD of SSNIT, has been caught in a hard place which has led to open promise by the MP for Assin Central, Ken Agyapong, that he must be jailed.
Interestingly, in all the shadow boxing, none of the NDC gurus biting each other’s head off is speaking to the fact that, even as they argued, the cost incurred on the OBS is increasing because it has not been fully installed.
It appears all too clear too, that the SSNIT Board in place now is more than happy to sit back and watch the NDC gurus fight and undo each other.
Again, the Ghanaian people are not being told why the full installment of the project has not been completed.
Contrary to the public impression that has been given so far, the OBS is not just software. The OBS is a whole platform, with both hardware and software components.
SSNIT acquired it to manage its core operational activities which reduces human involvement to the barest minimum
When fully installed, Its functionality will include the registration of members, payment of contribution, compliance enforcement, benefits administration and relationship channel management.
In August 2014, the first phase of the OBS was officially launched by SSNIT in Accra. That phase, called the SSNIT Contact Centre, was to serve as a central point for handling all customer enquiries and complaints and also enable it reach out to the larger public.
Amidst the pomp and pageantry, SSNIT had said at the time that the OBS was going to make it possible for it to achieve a total enterprise transformation, operational excellence and create opportunity for SSNIT stakeholders to experience superior customer service.
After that, it was announced that the phase two of the OBS, which includes information kiosk and social media, would be implemented by November of 2014.
However, apparently, three years down the line, the phase two has somehow not been completed, leading to a shoot in the original cost of the project from $34million to $66million through to $72million.
The SSNIT Board, led by Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, is yet to tell Ghanaians why the full installation of the whole OBS is yet to be completed.
Meanwhile, the Contact Centre, which had been launched in 2014, is said to be almost useless due to the lack of completion of the installation.
It was aimed to additionally function by way of providing alternative channel for its members including employers and the public to make enquiries, lodging complaints, compliments and provide feedback.
The Contact Centre is supposed to be an integral component of the SSNIT OBS project and it is the outfit that owns and manages the members’ requests from lodgement to solution.
It is supposed to facilitate effective tracking of customers’ issues; coordinate in relaying information to the customers and use the feedback to enhance their operational processes and procedures to improve customer relation and service delivery.
At full installation, key functional features of the OBS Project will include biometric verification at all SSNIT sites to replace the manual fingerprint verification available only at the records Department; the use of centralized database across all SSNIT offices, and submission of contribution report via a portal, and also, payment at the Bank as against the practice where the submission and payment is at the branches of SSNIT.
Other features include availability of multiple access channels such as the SSNIT portal, information Kiosk, face-face contact at the branch office for transaction processing and access to information; implementation of business intelligence solution to aid decision making; provision of contact centre to provide superior customer service.
In addition, the OBS would undertake implementation of form processing to reduce manual data capturing and errors; implementation of workflow solution and business activity monitoring systems to reduce transaction processing delays; implementation of a new system for the core operational processes, and digitization of the legacy business document and increase access to the scanned documents to assist their offices to respond to members’ enquiries.
The SSNIT Operational Business Suite (OBS) therefore, is more than just a software as is being conveniently bandied about to create the impression that the former helms people had misspent on it. It is like a work station with a nationwide operability.
Given the facts, insiders say it is not surprising at all that the delayed full installation of the project is leading to constant shoot in cost.
Nobody is explaining why a project that was supposed to be fully installed by November 2014 is yet to be completed in August 2017. Yet rather than explain the situation, the new SSNIT Board, led by Dr. Kwame Addo Kufuor, has conveniently thrown the ever increasing cost from the non-installation into the public domain and apparently sat down to savour pleasure from watching two NDC gurus go at each other’s throats.
Interestingly, while the Board sits and plays the piper, the cost is still increasing.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Fiifi Samuels