Wednesday, February 2, 2011

We Have an Open Door Policy – SSHFC MD

The Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) Thursday 27 January2011 held a one day sensitisation workshop on SSHFC schemes for the media at the corporation’s headquarters. This is the beginning of a series of workshops to be embarked upon by the corporation to keep the general public better informed of the various schemes on offer.
Declaring the workshop open, the newly reinstated managing director, Mr. Tumbul Danso, epitomised the relationship between his institution and the media as symbiotic in nature. “If anything we need the press in our information dissemination campaigns. Currently we are engaged in three housing projects, the Tujereng, Jabang and Brikama Jamisa projects. We have an open door policy and so the public is always encouraged to meet us and raise their concerns,” Mr. Danso told the gathering.
According to the managing director, SSHFC was established in 1982 by an Act of Parliament with housing and social security fund components. The social security fund comprises three schemes, the National Provident Fund (NPF), the Federated Pension Scheme (FPS) and the Industrial Injuries Compensation Fund (IICF).
Deliberating on the success story of the corporation since its inception, Mr. Danso said that going by the  past budget speeches, the institution has made over Ninety-seven dalasis surplus qualifying them for a three month bonus payment as this is paid based on good performance. As a result the corporation was promoted from a third to a first class institution. “People from other countries have been coming here to learn from our experience. If other countries can do it, we can do it too,” Mr. Danso concluded.
The Federated Pension Scheme, according to Raymond Njie, senior public relations manager, took off the ground in 1983.  He  said this scheme until recently is only meant for Parastatals institutions such as the Gambia Ports Authority(GPA) and Gambia Telecommunications Company(GAMTEL) whereas the National Provident Fund(NPF) only affects private institutions. Sonko Jileng, a private business institution has however now opted for the latter. The main differences between the two are that employers are the only contributors of 15 percent of the employee’s salary to the scheme as opposed to the National Provident Fund where both the employer and employee make a monthly contribution of 15 and 5 percent respectively of the employee’s salary. 
The public relations manager of SSHFC, Mr Ebrima Dampha in giving an overview of the significance of the IICF expressed his disappointment with employers who fail to register with the fund. “It is as simple as coming to our office, pick up a form and fill and send it back to us. We go and meet employers in their offices only to tell us that they would get back to us, a promise they would invariably not keep,” Daphna said.  He said the timely reporting of accidents cannot be overemphasized.  He said such accidents do not only include those that happen during working hours but also any accident that occurs two hours before or two hours after work.
Presenting a paper on the housing fund, the estate manager, Alhagie Fatty, traced the origin of the fund to the coming into being of the Bakoteh Housing Estate. “Contrary to public perception we are what we are today thanks to the funds we were able to accrue from the Bakoteh project and our partnership with Shelter Afric based in Kenya.” He said the Kanifing Estate was the first project conceived by the housing fund but unlike the Bakoteh project the Kanifing, Brusubi and subsequent projects are site and service infrastructural development oriented.
The occasion was chaired by Mr. Sulayman Nyass, assistant public relations manager, who also gave the closing remarks while Momodou Edrissa Njie from the News and Report Magazine gave the vote of thanks.

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