By Yankuba Jallow
The National Assembly Select Committee on Public Enterprise, Thursday July 26th 2018, sent the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation parking, to update their activity report for the year 2015.
Speaking to representatives of the Corporation, the Chairman of the Select Committee Halifa Sallah, said the clerk of the Committee will discuss with the Corporation on when next they should appear before them.
“We will want you to update your activity report so that it can reflect the financial status and transactions in your financial statements,” Halifa told them.
Members of the Select Committee unanimously agreed, that the Corporation should furnish them with a detailed activity report that reflects the financial status and the transaction of the Corporation.
Sallah cited Section 175 (5) of the 1997 Constitution which states: “A Public Enterprise shall, within three months of the end of its financial year, submit an annual report to the National Assembly on its businesses and operations during the preceding year, provided that the appropriate committee of the National Assembly may extend the time for the submission of the report.’’
“Activity reports should entail details of the businesses and operations of the Corporation for the period for which the profit and loss account, and balance sheet have been returned. The activity report should be linked to the reports of the auditors and the GPPA, for the exercise to be comprehensive and complete,” Sallah stressed.
Sallah pointed out that the auditors should furnish invariably, whether they obtained all the information and explanations required by them and whether the balance sheet and accounts of the Corporation are properly drawn, so as to exhibit a true and fair view of their affairs.
“Our duty is to assess the facts presented to us by those charged with the Governance and management of the Corporation, with the view to transmit resolutions, recommendations and reports to the National Assembly, to promote system and operational improvements or make proposals for legislation,” he said.
Sallah said they have powers as provided in Section 109 of the Constitution, to examine the facts presented to them, enquire from those charged with the responsibility of the management of the affairs of public enterprises.
“The activity report and financial statement presented to us on the 24th of July 2018, indicate at page two the general information, the composition of the Board of Directors in 2015. It would be useful to have them around, to unravel the facts which emerged during the short administration, ” Sallah stated.
The National Assembly Member for Serrekunda Constituency said from the report, it is gathered that the Corporation is administering and managing the following funds: Federated Pension Fund, National Provident Fund, Housing Finance Fund and Industrial Compensation Fund.
“The activity report should detail the business transactions and other operations of these funds which should be captured in the income statement, balance sheet, statement of changes in equity and statement of cash flows,” he said.
He raised the question on whether the activity report has the activity presented in the business transactions and other operations of each of the funds established by the Corporation for the year ended December 2015 and the issue of whether the activity report indicated the initiation of investment policies that yielded reasonable returns to members of the Corporation. “Has it revealed the payment of benefits to members? Has the report provided affordable housing schemes? Have the auditors furnished us on whether they have obtained all the information and explanation required by them and whether the balance sheet and accounts of the Corporation are properly drawn, so as to establish the true and fair view of the affairs of the Corporation? Have they conveyed weaknesses in the accounting system of internal control that could lead to material losses or misstatements of the financial statement?” Sallah asked.
Muhammed Magassy, the National Assembly member for Basse, asked the representatives of the Corporation questions about the sponsorship of students. He asked the total number of students the Corporation is sponsoring and the institutions they are attending; that it is the responsibility of Government to execute programmes and not the Corporation.
Alagie Jawara, the Member for Lower Badibou and Vice Chairman of the Committee, asked the amount disbursed by the Corporation for NayConf and their mandate to do this.
In their response, the Management of the Corporation agreed to all the issues raised by the Deputies adding that the current management of the Corporation will focus on its core mandate as provided in the SSHFC Act. On the sponsorship rendered to the NaYConf, the Management said they did so as their Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Committee held that the Corporation should go back and update their activity report on the year 2015, for it to be more suitable for presentation.