By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
Present of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, has called on the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) to invest in the media.
He made the above call at the press seminar organized by NASSIT on Friday, June 10, at the Radisson Blu, Mammy Yoko Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown.
The objective of the seminar was the management of NASSIT to interface with members of the fourth estate, and educate media practitioners on the processes and procedures of NASSIT.
President Nasralla stated that the partnership between NASSIT and the media needs to be mutually beneficial.
“NASSIT is growing, but we are not. So, they should be concerned about that, they seem not concerned about our growth. As media, we have to take our own business very seriously. They have the resources to help us grow in so many areas,” he said.
Nasralla further urged the Trust to invest in the media with printing equipment to reduce production cost and also go beyond that by importing the raw materials used for printing.
NASSIT, he said, should be concerned that media grow, if not, they will be challenged in the area of honouring institution’s contributions to the scheme.
“With the passing of the Independent Media Commission Act 2020, media houses are obliged to comply with their obligations. Last year showed an increase in the number of media houses that are now registered with NASSIT in complying with regulations,” he reiterated.
The Trust, he said, can also look at the possibility of a mortgage system for journalists as accommodation is a perennial problem, stating that those working in the media are also citizens.
“We have families and we work every day, but the condition that we’re working in is very challenging and so there must be some entity to intervene and help us,”he appealed.
SLAJ, he said, was working with the Ministry of Information and Communications to host an investment conference for the media and hoped that NASSIT will take an active role in that conference that will help improve the general media landscape.
Director General of NASSIT, Mohamed Fuad Dabor, in his keynote address, stated that they have established a very good relationship with members of the fourth estate over the years.
He said when the current government was in opposition they promised that when they assume office they will ensure due diligence is done with NASSIT investment across the country.
Director Dabor said with his leadership, he has conducted a forensic audit on their investment and that they have hired a consultant and an international company, adding that the company has done their findings and that they have prepared a report which would soon be presented to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security
He said NASSIT has also invested a lot of money in strengthening their Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector and that they have built an ultra-modern ICT structure in Port-Loko, which was almost 68% completed.
He added that the issue of delay to process document at NASSIT will be a thing of the past; and that they have started construction of their regional offices across the country.
He added that they will continue to engage the media to strengthen the relationship and thanked the membership for the repeal of part 5 of the criminal libel law.
He further that over the years they have engaged media houses to reach out to their customers, adding that sensitization of the public is something that should be generic.
He said over the years they have decentralized their approach in different ministries, departments and agencies, and thanked SLAJ for the tremendous effort they have been making to support of the growth of NASSIT.
After the speech from various speakers, presentations were done by various heads of departments including operations, legal and benefits.