The establishment of the National Social Security Trust – NASSIT by the late President Tejan Kabbah under the SLPP government was to focus and influence economic growth, thereby redistributing income and mobilizing savings for investment purposes. Late President Tejan Kabbah and his SLPP government came to the realisation in 2001 that Sierra Leoneans were receiving ridiculous pensions upon retirement , a mere pittance, and the payment very late to hard working individuals that have sacrificed their lives and time to the development of our country Sierra Leone. The delays in payments of pensions had gross implications on the labour market whereby people were reluctant to leave jobs even when they attained the national retirement age. At this back drop, NASSIT was charged with the responsibility of administering Sierra Leone’s National Pension Scheme, under Statutory Act No. 5 of 20th, July 2001, mandated to provide retirement and other benefits to meet the contingency needs of workers and their dependants.
In recent times, under the management and leadership of Mr. Mohamed Fuaad Daboh, NASSIT has propelled on its primary product- the payment of benefits, a main reason for the existence of the scheme. In as much as benefits payment is a chain involving processes starting with registration of members, collection of contributions, enforcement of compliance, and the maintenance of member data, the leadership has effectively delivered, and ensured that benefits processes are well adhered to. Today, pensioners are very proud and happy with the swift change implemented in the timely payment, and the stock the package now contains. Before, pensioners received some where around Le 20 to 30,000 monthly, but this got catapulted to a lump sum of Le 250,000, a reason why Sierra Leoneans are now proud of NASSIT under Director General Mohamed Fuaad Daboh. There is now the realisation of dignity in labour among pensioners..
In its recent innovations to meet the demand and quest of customers, NASSIT has recruited considerable number of Inspectors, and accorded them the requisite training, and abundant working tools to meet and serve customers far and wide.
In delivering on their customer service, the new administration has -re-introduced the pigeon-hole system to effectively monitor benefit claims processes. In his wisdom in attaining NASSIT’s avowed quest of maintaining an execellent service delivery system, Director General Daboh has deemed it fit to launch the telephone hotlines for customers, and these hotlines are available via both Orange and Africell networks. The aim of these hotlines is to provide opportunities for members of the public to easily contact NASSIT with their concerns, queries and suggestions. The lines include; 811 for the Western Region Office in Freetown, 812 for the West sub Office, 813 for West East sub Office, 814 for the Kono Office, 815 for the South Region Office in Bo, 816 for the North Region Office in Makeni, 817 for the East Region Office in Kenema.
NASSIT’s visibility could now be sourced on WhatsApp, Face Book, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, all geared towards making their services convenient for customers from the comfort of their places.
The most adorable innovation for ease of work at NASSIT is the introduction of Project -54 in September 2019. According to Director General Daboh, Project-54 will be focusing on potential retirees that fall within the age bracket of 54 to 59, with the sole objective of identifying all members in this category with contribution gaps, so as to correct, update members’ bio and financial data, and validating the past services of those eligible, thereby addressing all pin code mismatch cases. Mr. Daboh quickly observed that there is need to ensure that members of NASSIT have a smooth transition from their active working life to being pensioners. Certainly, the Project -54 will benefit both NASSIT and the customers in ensuring that members’ data is complete, correct, and up to date at the time of benefits application. This undertaking will reduce the benefits processing time, ensuring maximum customer satisfaction, and deepening customers’ knowledge on the schemes’ operations, processes and procedures. Above all, Project-54 will improve the organizational performance, and overall corporate image.
In his astute leadership and frantic efforts in disseminating information, the Director General has introduced what he referred to as NASSIT Choir. Where words fail, music speaks. In this context, the NASSIT Choir has been enticing customers, and complimenting the efforts in delivering on their mandate. It is expected that the NASSIT Choir will support their public education drive as a center of execellence, and promoting their core value of respect, transparency, and accountability.
As an established entity of the government of Sierra Leone, the Audit Service Sierra Leone commissioned a technical audit into the social security, the only social security in the country. NASSIT was audited and findings have been published, and as a Trust, NASSIT have appeared before the Public Account Committee of Parliament for clarifications on the issues raised in the audit report. As a transparent and reliable institution, NASSIT fully complied with the instructions of the public Account Committee.
Over the years, NASSIT has been facing the daunting challenges of compliance. In this vein, NASSIT, in collaboration with the judiciary have launched the social security court for all NASSIT compliance cases. Director General Daboh is of the strong conviction that this will go a long way in addressing the perennial non-compliance, and other issues faced by NASSIT. The Trust is also assiduously working on the review of the NASSIT Act No.5 of 2001 to bring it up to speed with contemporary on social security.
As an instrument of social justice, NASSIT will now champion the age old problem of student’s accommodation in higher institutions of learning. NASSIT is high on the way in constructing student’s hostels in five (5) tertiary institutions across the country. Bilateral meetings have taken place between NASSIT, and the administrations of these institutions and arrangements are far advanced for the commencement of this gracious project. Each of the tertiary institutions will benefit a whole block comprising of 216 rooms that will accommodate 432 students, with facilities that will provide a conducive learning environment.
As a customer focused institution, NASSIT has introduced the Customer Birthday Wish Program which recognizes their esteemed customers on their birthdays. A sample of pensioners benefited recently from those whose birthdays fell between January and June this year with a melodious party. Plans are underway to organize the July to December Pensioners Birthday Party which is a novelty since the introduction of the scheme.
In demonstrating gratitude, and emphasizing on the importance of good customer service, increasing and motivating teamwork, NASSIT observed the International Customer Service Week this October. The Customer Service Week is observed all over the world. For this year, NASSIT Customer Service Week benefitted the St. Martin’s Orphanage in Port Loko Township where Le 60,000, 000 worth of assorted items were donated to the orphanage. The manager of the orphanage told the gathering that NASSIT is the first ever indigenous institution to have rendered help of that magnitude to the orphanage.
The Director General of NASSIT Mohamed Fuaad Daboh delivered a public lecture in June this year at the Eastern Polytechnic in Kenema where pertinent issues regarding the operations of NASSIT were divulged. He emphasized that his administration is putting premium on operations, and benefits payment as they are the reasons for the existence of the scheme. The staff of NASSIT educated the students and staff on social security, especially operations, and benefits and investment. Mr. Daboh informed the students and staff of Eastern Poly-Technic institution that thier institution is among the tertiary institutions that will benefit from the construction of students hostels NASSIT is about to undertake.
In May this year, NASSIT encouraged a round table seminar with journalists at the Golden Tulip, Kimbima Essential with the objective of deepening their knowledge on the operations of NASSIT since he took over office on the 7th, June 2018. It was to arm the journalists with enough information about what NASSIT is doing, and why, so that information will flow to their membership in particular.
In the words of Director General Daboh “At NASSIT, we care for our customers; so they can lean on us for a better future”.