National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) last Thursday 14th September, 2023 officially opened the inaugural meeting of the Steering Committee on the Informal Sector NASSIT Scheme.
The inaugurated Steering Committee, which comprised the Minister of Employment, Labour and Social Security, Mohamed Rahman Swaray as Chairman, the NASSIT Director General, Mohamed Fuad Daboh, Ministries of Trade and Industry, Finance, Social Welfare, Youth Affairs, Local Government, Justice, Economic Planning, among others, was held at the Freetown International Conference Centre at Aberdeen.
The mandate of the committee, among others, is to oversee and guide the development and execution of all plans, policies, laws and regulations, programmes and activities related to the establishment of an appropriate Social Insurance Scheme for the Informal Sector population in Sierra Leone.
In his statement, NASSIT Deputy Director General 1, Mohamed Gbondo, explained the progress made, as well as the processes and procedures climaxing the meeting.
According to him, though the process was challenging, they received maximum cooperation from most members of the Informal Sector they engaged.
Mr. Gbondo was optimistic that at the end of the process, the outcome would be accepted and easily implemented for maximum success.
He conceded that there could still be some unseen challenges before a final draft would emerge, but hoped that they would have enough wisdom to smoothen out any unforeseeable challenge.
The Minister of Employment, Labour and Social Security, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, said apart from the Steering Committee, there is also a Technical Committee that shall provide technical leadership in the design of the proposed scheme.
“These organs have been mandated to develop and design a workable scheme to protect against critical socio-economic contingencies for the large majority of people not effectively covered by the existing NASSIT Act,” the Minister said.
According to Mr. Swaray, expanding social protection systems in countries such as ours is challenging because of current trends of heightened uncertainty in the labour markets and, most importantly, the fiscal constraints our Governments face and the extreme poverty and exclusion levels in our society.
He emphasized that social protection is a key element in the Government’s strategy for Human Capital Development, political stability and inclusive growth, noting that from a social protection perspective, his Ministry’s approach to achieving these broad objectives is to move from ad hoc emergency interventions to create a more logical, comprehensive and sustainable social protection system, adding that these include social assistance, social insurance and, if possible, universal minimum pensions for the aged.
The Minister said the Informal Sector and Self-employed who make up about 92 percent of workers are not included in the NASSIT Scheme or covered by any other form of organized social security system.