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Friday, December 8, 2023

SSHFC MD speaks on Gambia’s social protection landscape

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The Managing Director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, Saloum Malang, has given a picture of the social security situation in The Gambia at the recently concluded international social protection conference held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Centre in Bijilo.

In a presentation before national and international delegates, the SSHFC chief outlined the different players involved in social security and protection in The Gambia, the different schemes, administering organisations, population groups legally covered, pensionable age, benefits, and payment frequency.

“As of 30 September 2023, the scheme total membership for the National Provident Fund stood at 157,084 employees. Of these 4,950 employees registered in 2023 as of 30 September. In case of the Federated Pension Scheme, total employee membership stood at 17,517 as of 30 September 2023. However, 394 new employees were added in 2023 as of 30 September,” MD Malang disclosed.

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In terms of communications between SSHFC and its stakeholders, MD Saloum Malang disclosed that 50 seminars were held in various member institutions in 2022 to boost awareness. He said regular meetings were also held with the pensioners committee to address their concerns.

“The corporation also used traditional media for advertising as well as an optimisation of the institution’s social media channels,” he added.

MD Malang further disclosed that currently the corporation is automating and digitalising social security operations to reduce process time and cost by developing a unique system called the Social Security Management Information System (SSMIS), which comprises various sub-systems including member registration, customer relations management, system benefits and claim processing, benefit payment, and statement production.

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Gambia Transport Service Company

The GTSC is Gambia’s largest road transport company with nationwide coverage.

It also has a dedicated international fleet.

MD Malang said the company has recently introduced the latest and most luxurious fleet of Ashok Leyland buses called Freedom Coache, locally called Kairaba.

“The company is to introduce Smart Travel Cards soon,” he added.

Ocean Bay Hotel and Resorts

He said the Ocean Bay Hotel and Resort, which is owned by SSHFC, is among the best 10 hotels in the world as per the US Travel Advisor, the biggest tourism platform called Trip Advisor.

MD Malang said the Corporation is also planning to diversify its investments from bank term deposits due to low interest rates, which are sometimes as low as 1%.

“We deemed it fit to diversify into assets such as land and structures without necessarily compromising liquidity ratios. We also want to improve our current properties and investments, such as hotels, transport services, banks, and rental properties, and plan to establish commercial structures in strategic locations,” he disclosed.

The MD’s presentation also touched on SSHFC’s investments, subsidiaries, and the major awards and recognitions conferred on them, including international recognition, as well as the challenges confronting the institution.

He cited legal barriers, non or delayed registration by some employers, a low level of literacy nationally, a delay in the submission of contribution schedules, contribution gaps, and limited investment opportunities locally as major challenges.

Elsewhere in his presentation, the MD also thanked the National Social Protection Secretariat (NSPS) for hosting such an important event on home soil.

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