By Lansana Fofanah.
In his first nationwide meeting with the Fourth Estate in 2019, the Director General of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust, (NASSIT) Mohamed Fouad Daboh has informed the press that the sum of Le, 431.3 Billion was collected as contribution income in 2018 by NASSIT.
Giving an overview of the previous year’s activities at the Headquarters of NASSIT at Walpole Street, Freetown on the 1st of February 1, 2019, Director Daboh said that current pensioners as at December 2018, NASSIT has 14,754 registered establishments with a total insured population of 215,049.
“As at December 2018, we have 25,175 pensioners (Retirement, Invalidity and Survivors) on our pension payroll and we have paid a total of Le, 148.5 Billion as pensions between January and December 2018”, he declared.
Mr. Daboh briefed the press on key successes and challenges since he took over in June 2018 and how he continues to strive to put the operations and benefits payment at the centre of their business as this was one main objective for which the establishment was created. He pointed out that the empowerment of inspectors with requisite trainings and skills constitutes a major role since they are key in achieving the objectives of NASSIT.
He said that after a nationwide verification exercise of all retirement pensioners, the Trust discovered that their pension payroll continues to increase as they now have over 17,000 Retirement Pensioners that they pay through the banks, but getting information about deceased pensioners has been another herculean task for the Trust. He said that NASSIT will now be paying pensioners in all the commercial banks in order to give them easy access to their pensions.
Mr. Daboh said that NASSIT is at an advance stage with a reputable firm, Gougi Construction Company for the construction of five blocks of student hostels with ancillary facilities on five university campuses which, if completed, will provide housing facilities for 2,160 students across the country.
Mr. Daboh said that the current active population in Sierra Leone is in the informal sector economy, but the design of NASSIT, has not been compatible with the operations of the informal sector. In addressing that challenge, he said NASSIT will be rolling out an attractive social security scheme that appropriately addresses the special needs of workers in that sector of the economy.
Dilating on meeting international standards, Mr. Daboh said that the ILO Convention 102 covers nine principal branches of social security; medical care, sickness, unemployment, old-age, employment injury, family maternity, invalidity and survivors benefits. But since NASSIT was established, only three out of the nine schemes have been covered and these are; old-age, invalidity and survivors benefits, but NASSIT will henceforth be collaborating with relevant stakeholders such as ILO, World Bank, MoHS, MLSS to design and implement a Social Health Insurance Scheme for Sierra Leone
He also said that the pronouncement made by President Julius Maada Bio to increase government pensions from Twenty Five Thousand Leones to Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Leones has now been into effect. He said that the establishments of Toll Free Lines of 811,812,813,814,815,816 and 817 from Africell and Orange have closed the communication gap between NASSIT and their valued customers.