By Lamin Cham
Stakeholders have gathered at the Ocean Bay Hotel last Friday to validate the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation Amendment Act 2015.
The workshop followed a successful participatory review of the SSHFC Act prepared by Torodo Chambers, the consultants.
The amendments seek to increase compliance level as current legal loopholes would be plugged.
“For example, the amended bill seeks to increase penalty fees for employers who willfully refuse to register their employees to the scheme, extend coverage to the self-employed individuals, enable members to use some of their funds with SSHFC to pay their mortgage with the Corporation and support their education,” the Corporation said in a preamble to the validation workshop.
In total, over eleven key limitations were identified with the current acts and recommendations on these are proposed for amendment as the SSHFC 2022 Bill is expected to be tabled before the National Assembly by the Minister of Finance.
Welcoming the stakeholders at the meeting, Managing Director Saloum Malang underscored the importance of the validation by stating that the amendments will make the functions of the Corporation event better and in tune with modern realities. He assured stakeholders of his management’s commitment to transparency and best practice in its administration of the funds of the Corporation.
Similarly, Oreme Joiner, the chairman of the board of SSHFC, said the amendments are needed to bring the Corporation’s operation in line with current realities.
”There is a need for the review of the SSHFC Act and instead of doing it alone the Corporation has decided to invite stakeholders to gain their input so that they could take ownership of the amendments.”
Madam Janet R. Sallah – Njie, the lead consultant from Torodo Chambers tasked with the review of the Act in consultation with a technical working group of SSHFC, took the stakeholders through a detailed explanation of the areas marked for changes and took inputs from the gathering on the areas that concerned them.
The Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Fabuka Njaay indicated that the validation of the SSHFC Act is a strategic milestone, and the review takes on board international social security standards and norms, as well as recommendations based on best practices from sister jurisdictions on social security services. “Thus, the review identifies gaps in the existing legal framework, and proposes the recommendations best suited for safeguarding SSHFC members’ interest,” he said adding all the various SSHFC regulations, with some dating back to several decades have now all been consolidated into a single document.