…urge vigilance in debt collection
December 1, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura
Members of the parliamentary oversight Committee on Labour and Industrial Relations have told senior officials at the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) that they should be vigilant in their debt collection across the country.
Speaking at a debriefing session with the senior NASSIT officials at Parliament Monday, chairman of the committee, Hon. Dr. Foday Suma said that following their visit to three regions in the country – north, south and east – private and government schools, private institutions and road construction companies paid some of the debts they owe NASSIT.
He said both NASSIT officials and debtors showed them letters of payment plan but because NASSIT inspectors failed to do a follow-up on the plan the debtors, including some ministries, departments and agencies, reneged on paying their debts as planned.
The ruling party lawmaker recalled that sometimes last year they mediated between some institutions and NASSIT as to the payment of monies owed to the trust fund, but that they had observed that neither NASSIT nor the institutions followed up with the payment plans agreed.
Hon. Dr. Suma explained that some debtors had shown them letters they had written to NASSIT on the issue of retrenched workers in their institution who still continue to be included in tax computation by the latter. He said such should not be the case from a reputable institution which manages the retirement benefit of citizens.
He maintained that “for NASSIT to be able to sustain in an illiterate country like ours, there is need to sensitise the public as to why they should pay tax, need to hold meetings with employers and employees on the importance of tax compliance as to be socially driven for their retirement age and their children”.
He revealed that they were able to collect the sum of Le.245,060,000 (two hundred and forty-five million and sixty thousand Leones), while Shandong Mining Company paid the sum of Le1 billion, on behalf of NASSIT.
He disclosed that they collected Le70.7million, Le 24.9million and Le150million in Makeni, Bo and Kenema, headquarters of the southern, eastern and northern provinces respectively.
Director General of NASSIT, Joseph Sedu Mans commended the committee and promised to look into issues raised by members following their provincial tour, adding that a committee would soon be set up to investigate debt compliance or the lack of it and submit a comprehensive report to the committee.
He noted that employers would normally deduct the mandatory 5% from employees’ salaries but fail to pay the remaining 10% which according to the NASSIT Act should be paid by the employer, thus causing delays in the payment of retirement benefit to beneficiaries.