A high-powered delegation from the Ministry of Defence and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) led by the Minister of Defence, Brigadier (Rtd) Kelly Conteh, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Brima Sesay, on Wednesday, 3rd June, 2020 held a meeting with the Director General and senior Management of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust at the Conference Hall of the NASSIT Headquarters in Freetown. The meeting was a follow-up to a letter addressed to the Director General from the Ministry of Defence, highlighting challenges service personnel encounter in their dealings with the Trust. These challenges, among others, border on the irregular update of members’ statements; restrained access to benefits by retired personnel; restrained access to benefits by beneficiaries of deceased personnel; and discrepancies in the personal details of personnel.
Addressing the meeting, the Director General, Mohamed Fuaad Daboh, thanked the Minister and his team, saying, NASSIT was worthy of the visit of such a high- powered delegation from the Ministry of Defence and the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces. He averred that the composition of the delegation demonstrated the seriousness of the issues to be discussed.
He intimated the meeting that NASSIT prided itself in the collaborative relationship with its various stakeholders and that the meeting was highly commendable, particularly when it had to do with members of the Armed Forces, a major constituent in the scheme membership. He went on to assure his audience of NASSIT’s commitment to the timely payment of benefits to the right beneficiaries.
In his statement, the Regional Coordinator in the Operations Division, Mohamed Sam, joined the Director General in appreciating the team for their patience and the opportunity to dialogue with them for an efficient and effective operational relationship. On the issue of irregular update on statements, the Coordinator explained that the issuance of member statements of account at NASSIT was now demand-driven, adding that irregularities on statements were a major concern to the Scheme.
“NASSIT however attaches Statement Amendment Form to every statement produced to give the member the opportunity to provide feedback on the correctness or otherwise of the statement” Mr. Sam explained, adding, “It is the responsibility of the member to return the completed amendment form so as to enable NASSIT correct those anomalies but these feedbacks are most times not forthcoming”.
On the restrained access to retirement and other benefits, the Regional Coordinator told the meeting that NASSIT was desirous of the prompt processing and payment of benefits, but that had normally been challenged by a number of problems mostly posed by the members themselves such as inconsistency of names, wrong or multiple dates of birth, multiple military numbers/pin codes, omission of names on payment vouchers and inconsistences of names on payroll and NASSIT records, inconsistencies in dependants’ names and dates of birth and incomplete documentation.
He concluded with the assurance that NASSIT was committed to its purpose and that a lot of energy and resources had been invested to overcome those challenges On his part, the Minister of Defence, Brigadier (Rtd) Kelly Conteh lauded the reception accorded them by the Director General and his team, saying that the level of commitment demonstrated by the Director General by constituting such a high powered team to meet with them was very encouraging.
“I am encouraged by the level of experts assembled here and the factual information provided in your responses. You have enlightened us so much in those responses", he said. He acknowledged that most of the problems highlighted were true and were mostly internal within the Ministry of Defence and the RSLAF, assuring the Director General of his commitment to addressing them before the end of this year. He requested NASSIT to commit themselves to the prompt payment of benefit once all the internal inconsistences are addressed In his closing statement, the Director General assured the meeting of NASSIT’s commitment to its core business of the prompt payment of benefit but appealed to the Minister and team to encourage their personnel to update their records whenever their circumstances changed, emphasizing that correct, accurate and up to date information was very crucial to processing and payment of survivors benefit.He appreciated the strides of leadership of the Military to ensuring that they solve the problems of their colleagues. “This is a manifestation of the true and committed leadership of the military," he concluded.
NASSIT, We Care