February 20, 2018 By Hassan Gbessay Koroma
Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh has last Thursday, 15th February, officially commissioned a modernised shopping plaza constructed by the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) in the township of Bo.
Speaking at the well-attended ceremony, VP Foh said he was very proud to be part of the launch as he is a son of the soil, thus calling on residents to treat the facility with care and diligence.
According to him, Bo township has over the years transformed into a modern city for business, jobs and investment, adding that as a modern city it deserves a magnificent shopping plaza, modern housing, good roads, water supply and electricity.
He said that the President Ernest Bai Koroma-led government has over the years dedicated itself providing all the above amenities to the city of Bo.
He said when NASSIT was established fifteen years ago and President Ernest Bai Koroma was one of the founding members, he had lot of hope in the scheme and wanted to see it grow.
The Vice President noted that despite challenges the institution has faced and still continue to face, it is still making headway in accomplishing its goals, and that plazas and other facilities it has constructed across the country constitute a job well done by NASSIT.
He thanked the Board, Management and staff of NASSIT for construction of the plaza, noting that entrepreneurs are drivers of progress in today’s world as they create jobs for the ordinary people, pay taxes to government and bring investors into the country.
He said government was determined to boost businesses, build more roads linking to markets, while he called on business people to be law-abiding.
In his statement, Director General of NASSIT, Joseph Saidu Mans Jr, said that on 31st August 2012, President Ernest Bai Koroma officially dedicated a modern shopping plaza and transport terminal in Kenema, and that a year after, the latter also officially commissioned another plaza and transport terminal in the northern city of Makeni on 30th August 2013, adding that all the facilities have helped contribute to trade within those regions.
He said they were in Bo city again to commission another shopping plaza and that very soon they will also be commissioning a super multipurpose market building at Sewa Grounds, Victoria Park, in Freetown.
He noted that massive investments undertaken by NASSIT are visible everywhere in the country, adding that they have successfully contributed to the government’s agenda for prosperity, which they believe will transform the country into a middle income country in the next twenty years. He said that if the facility is fully utilised, it would reduce tension of youth unemployment in the country and bring lot of benefit to people in that part of the country.
He said the primary reason for which the NASSIT scheme was established was to pay retirement and other related benefits to the working class – both in the private and the public sector- and that they have over the years been able to deliver that promise.
He furthered that in October 2017 NASSIT celebrated fifteen years of existence since they started operations in January 2002, and that they used the celebration to discuss successes and challenges of the scheme, but focusing more on addressing their challenges.
He said he was proud to inform the public that despite the challenges over the years, NASSIT was still financially viable and that there was no need to increase the scheme’s contribution rate.
He said over the years they have taken adequate steps to address challenges faced by the institution and disclosed that a recent valuation of the administration, investment and assets discovered that they have over US$166 million.
He said the plaza has two storey facilities, with fifty-one single, six-by-six size shop spaces, seven double shop spaces of twelve-by-twelve metre size shop space and other facilities, including restaurant, water tanks and toilets.
He said they were also constructing a transport terminal which will have a modern hotel facility of about 26 rooms, conference centre and swimming pool.
The Interim Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Roland Wright, said the ceremony was a red letter day for NASSIT because some fifteen years ago, no one could have imagined that it would reach the level it has attained and the size of its investment.
It could be recalled that the government of Sierra Leone enacted the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) with a mission “to administer a Social Security Scheme that provides financial security to all employees in Sierra Leone in the form of old age benefits, Invalidity benefits and Survivors’ benefits, based on social insurance principles.”