As part of the institution’s continued support to the Government and people of Sierra Leone in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the Director General of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) on Thursday, 30th April, 2020, donated the sum of One Billion Leones (Le1,000,000,000) to the National Coordinator of the Emergency Response Committee. This auspicious event which took place at the Emergency Operation Centre at Cockerill in Freetown
brought together State actors, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, management and staff of NASSIT, members of the Emergency Response Committee and the press. Making the presentation on behalf of the Board, Management, staff and members of the scheme, the Director General, Mohamed Fuaad Daboh stated that NASSIT is a statutory public Trust with the responsibility to administer Sierra Leone’s National Pension Scheme. He said NASSIT is a mandatory contributory scheme that provides retirement, invalidity and survivors benefits to members when any of the contingencies of Old Age, Invalidity and Death occurs.
The Director General stressed that NASSIT is very concerned over the intensity of the outbreak of the corona virus and its devastating effect on the lives of majority of Sierra Leoneans.He noted that despite the proactive measures instituted by the State to combat the outbreak, it is no secret that this pandemic poses serious threat to the scheme, stating that contribution income is expected to drop due to reduction in economic activity; Investment income will drop due to a downturn in the hospitality industry; the cancellation of conferences will affect income derived from the Freetown International Conference (FICC). Etc.
Mr. Daboh went on to say that Benefits expenditure will definitely increase as members will continue to retire with or without a pandemic. There is also a risk of potential increase in the survivors’ payroll, as was in the case of Ebola Epidemic; and that administration expense is expected to increase due to additional expenditure on the. measures to tackle the pandemic. He therefore expressed that it is imperative that NASSIT partners with the Government to effectively fight this deadly global outbreak. The Director General highlighted the measures undertaken by NASSIT not only to support Government in the fight against Covid-19 but also to adhere to instructions laid down by the State.
According to the DG, NASSIT established a special Covid 19 committee to handle emergencies springing from the Corona pandemic devastating the world. The Committee immediate sprang into action to ensure adherence to the Presidential declaration. Covid 19 messages were designed into jingles, flyers and kinetics that were broadcast on radio and television stations across the country and on all NASSIT Social Media platforms The operations of NASSIT were reviewed in line with best practice on COVID-19, as advised by Government and the WHO such as alternative working days, social distancing, shortened work hours etc. “Bed ridden pensioners are now paid once every 2 months in order to minimize contacts, particularly because these pensioners are aged and more at risk, according to the Experts’ view. We have provided Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPEs) in our offices. These include; Veronica buckets, face masks, Temperature testing machines etc. “Ladies and Gentlemen, our pride as an institution is in our membership and that membership is mostly Sierra Leoneans. When the well-being of that membership is threatened, NASSIT is threatened. Like we supported the fight against the Ebola Epidemic some years ago, we believe, the fight against COVID-19 is a national fight, and we must be part of every national effort geared towards containing this deadly virus in order to save lives. It is with this motivation that NASSIT donates the sum of One Billion Leone (Le 1,000,000,000) and assorted food items from Radisson Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel and Golden Tulip Kimbima Hotel, two of our subsidiary companies in the fight to combat this menace from our people,” Me. Daboh concluded.
Receiving the donation on behalf of Committee , the National Coordinator , Retired Brigadier Nelson Kelly Conteh expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Board, Management and staff of NASSIT for the support to the country in such trying times. He described the act as a clear demonstration of true love, care and patriotism. The Coordinator opined that EOC enjoys strong leadership support and the political will in the fight but needs such contribution from partners and well-wishers to succeed in the fight. He called on other institutions and individuals to emulate the fine examples of NASSIT.
In concluding, the Coordinator used the opportunity to appreciate the contribution of the Press in the fight against the pandemic. He said as a committee they make decisions but rely on the media to disseminate those decisions to the public. He called on all Sierra Leoneans and the general public to adhere to regulations to save themselves and loved ones. He encouraged all to stay safe and stay home.