The 15th Anniversary celebrations and National Members Conference is holding from the 10 – 15 October, 2017 with the Theme “NASSIT at 15 – Harnessing the Gains, Challenges and Opportunities Towards Improved Service Delivery.”
Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh whilst delivering the keynote address on behalf of His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma reminded his audience, that 15 years ago, Sierra Leone founded the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT). This, he said, was an initiative designed to improve the welfare of the country’s working class, their families, retired public servants as well as our compatriots on the private sector.
V.P. Foh on behalf of the President, admonished, that the founding of NASSIT was a special moment for all working and retired Sierra Leoneans. He noted that fifteen years on, it should be a period of stock-taking, a time for assessment of the administration of the scheme and a time to review the challenges facing the scheme. This, he emphasised, is to ensure that it is kept financially solvent.
Vice President Foh asserted that after the ten year brutal civil conflict, the establishment of a Social Security Institution was among the most urgent socio-economic policy actions needed in post-war Sierra Leone. This, he informed, was to replace the highly disorganised and fragmented Social Protection system that existed in the country.
At its inception however, V.P. Foh stated, this great initiative faced enormous challenges. “But with determination, and great moral and technical support from our international development partners, Sierra Leone prevailed to set up a scheme that would respond to the extreme socio economic problems left behind by the war and the high number of orphans, disabled and survivors,” declared V.P. Foh.
Dr. Bockarie Foh averred that Sierra Leone needed to succeed in establishing NASSIT as that was imperative to bolster Government’s capacity in dealing with those social and economic challenges, including those relating to widespread unemployment, which the then economic structures could not support.
V.P. Foh affirmed that after 15 years of existence, NASSIT has touched the lives of thousands of Sierra Leoneans and is now an integral component of the country’s social protection programmes.
The celebrations, V.P. Foh continued, was to commemorate all those battles that have been fought by a team of dedicated Sierra Leoneans and the gains that have been made over the years. “We reflect on that day that we ensured that our workers are entitled to benefit upon attaining Age 60; a day that gives hope to a life after service,” he furthered.
He referred to the day the scheme was established, as a day that inspires the working men and women of the country to have faith in our battle against poverty, giving meaning to the words: “there is dignity in labour”.
Ambassador Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh however, cautioned that this job which was set out to do 15 years ago is not yet completed. He implored that the country’s war against poverty and degradation is still raging.
V.P. Foh appealed to all employers to ensure that their workers are registered and contributions paid on their behalf to the scheme as required in Section 31 of the NASSIT Act No. 5 of 2001.
He reiterated that 15 years on, NASSIT must also review its investment portfolio, its coverage, its customer services to ensure that the investments of our compatriots are protected, that more people are covered under the scheme and that the contributions are better served at all times.
On behalf of His Excellency the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and People of Sierra Leone and on his own personal behalf, Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh wished the Board, Management, Staff and Contributors a successful anniversary. He however, cautioned the Management and Staff to remember that someday, they too will be a pensioner and will look forward to be paid on time and without much hassle.
The programme was chaired by the former Chairperson of the Board of SLIEPA, Mrs. Gloria Strasser King.
Other speakers include the Director General of NASSIT Dr. Joseph Mans Jr, Chairperson NASSIT Board of Trustees Dr. Yeabu Kamara and the Minister of Labour and Social Security; Dr. Matthew Teambo.
The programme was climaxed by the presentation of Awards to Pioneers of the Scheme. First was a posthumous award to the President Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabba, which was received by his wife, Madam Isata J. Kabba. This was followed by an award to current President Ernest Bai Koroma, which was received by Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh, amongst other awards.