Many Sierra Leoneans were unconvinced when the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) was established five years ago to administer the national pension fund and provide other benefits. Since then, NASSIT has won the confidence of its contributors and has become arguably the richest organisation in the country, as well as an important local investor. As Edmund Koroma, NASSITís general director, points out, "social security institutions the world over must be transparent, accountable and have the capacity to resist political pressure, if they are to be successful."
Contributions are mandatory for all employees in the private and the public sectors, while self-employed workers can join the scheme on a voluntary basis. Registration of contributions from the private sector has seen a significant increase as the economy has expanded Ė a process to which NASSIT itself contributes as an investor in the real estate and tourism sectors.
NASSITís first major investment was a $5.4 million concrete products factory, a joint venture with the Ghanaian firm, Regimanuel Gray. NASSIT has also entered into a joint venture with Henan Guoji Property Development Company of China to build a hotel resort and is a partner in the Kimbima Hotel.
Other investment projects include a plaza/transportation terminal in Kenema and construction of a tower block that will partly serve as NASSITís own headquarters.
Three new regional offices for the trust fund were opened by President Kabbah in May. Andrew Keili, NASSITís Chairman, says, "The basic point about a social security fund like NASSIT is that it should be profitable, because your first priority is to your stakeholders: you have to be able to pay benefits.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.