By Sailu Bah Social Security and Housing Finance Cooperation SSHFC, held a day long sensitization forum with the media on their institutional schemes available to all workers at their head office in Banjul, on Wednesday 22 April 2015.The aim is to get the media to disseminate the information to the entire populace. In his opening statement Mr Edward Graham noted that the public relies entirely on the information given to them by the media, adding that “if you give them correct information you lead them to the right track, but if you give them wrong information, then you mislead them which has consequences.” He said the reason for the media to be invited is to understand the importance of SSHFC as well as the services they offer and pass it to the entire public for awareness. Mr. Graham said journalists form a very important component in the society, as they play a pivotal role in creating awareness to the public. He explained that the seminar is to guide the media to know what social security stands for, and make sure that people know about it. He said SSHFC is an institution that provides social protection for the public, and the public should be rightly guided to understand the role and the importance of the institution. In his presentation Edward Gomez Senior Manager (Operations) dealt with the Federated Pensions Scheme which he said was created to provide security protection to workers in the quasi-government organization. He added that the funding member institutions initially ran their individual schemes until 1973 when they were federated and administered by SSHFC. “The pension fund is one of the constituent funds of SSHFC. It is a final pay scheme in the sense that it pays benefits based on age, length of qualifying services and final salary as at the date of retirement from service or on the date of death of the member,” he explained. Explaining the membership and the registration process of the scheme, Mr. Gomez said employees in full time employment in an organization registered and recognized as a member institution of the Pension Scheme qualify for membership of the scheme. “Parastatal organizations established by Acts of parliament form the bulk of the Pensions Scheme.” Citing some of the constraints, Mr. Gomez said members of the Scheme hardly pay their dues on time, and he added that some even don’t pay for a long period of time. He added that whenever they take legal action against them for not paying the court takes long to deliver judgment. “Sometimes the cases will drag for many years, five or even 10 years, which is a real constraint. In most of the cases we would not like to get to the stage of litigation with our clients.” He explained that they get their inspectors to make follow-ups as the first step. They then send letters to notify the institutions who are not complying for the payment as the second step. These steps precede legal action. Ebrima Dampha, Director Public relations SSHFC, explained the National Provident Fund. During his presentation he said that Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation was established by an Act of parliament in 1981. “The purpose of the fund is to provide some measures of protection for members against interruption or loss of earning power as a result of specificities contingencies” old age, premature retirement, retirement on grounds of marriage (Female only), invalidity, death and now redundancy,” he explained. In his closing remarks Sulayman Nyass Senior Public Relations Manager, expressed his hope that participants have now understood what was discussed and urged them to disseminate the information to the general public. He also said that there doors are open to any one who wishes to come and gather information from SSHFC. He also thanked participants for their cooperation during the seminar.]]>
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