SSHFC Hosts Grand Annual General Meeting (AGM)

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Mr. Oreme Joiner, the seasoned Chairman of the SSHFC Board

By: Kebba Ansu Manneh

On Thursday, April 24th, 2024, the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) convened a spectacular Annual General Meeting at the Paradise Suite Hotel in Senegambia. The event brought together representatives from public and private institutions, notably members of the Federated Pension Scheme and the National Provident Fund.

During this gathering, elections were successfully conducted for representatives of the Federated Pension Scheme, National Provident Fund, and Pensioners on the SSHFCBoard. Additionally, twenty distinguished institutions were honored with awards for exemplary compliance in employee contribution payments throughout 2023 in adherence to the SSHFC 2015 Act.

Stakeholders at the AGM

Mr. Oreme Joiner, the seasoned Chairman of the SSHFC Board, warmly welcomed
delegates with support from fellow Board Members. In his address, Chairman Joiner emphasized the corporation’s commitment to governance initiatives to efficiently address stakeholders’ expectations, needs, and requirements.

He informed the members that the Corporation has witnessed a noteworthy uptick, with members’ funds growing from D7.8 billion in 2022 to D8.3 billion in 2023, representing a commendable 6.4% growth.

He also indicated that the Corporation has significantly reduced staff costs in line with its oversight function. ‘We are pleased to report significant progress in reducing staff costs, achieving a notable 26% reduction to date.

This achievement underscores our dedication to maximizing value for our members while ensuring the sustainability of our operations.’

He stated that SSHFC has achieved key milestones by launching its Strategic Plan 2022-2026, outlining impactful strategies for sustainable growth. Additionally, the recent validation of the Amended SSHFC Act 2015 reflects their commitment to compliance and governance.

The Corporation also implements numerous policy documents, and others are at an advanced stage of implementation. Additionally, the completion of 2023
Financial Audits demonstrate the Corporation’s commitment to financial probity and
transparency, making SSHFC among the few parastatals that have accomplished their 2023 Financial Audit.

The Chairman stated that the Board fully supports Management in the implementation of the Social Security Management Information System (SSMIS), a cutting-edge computerized system that enhances operational efficiency and member services. This system integrates all related subsystems and features a dedicated user portal for 24/7 members access, aligning with the commitment to meeting evolving needs in the digital era.

‘The SSMIS will revolutionize member interactions by enabling instant access to
contribution and mortgage statements and related services, offering unmatched
convenience and flexibility,’ he added. The Chairman further said that with the support of the Board, The Corporation is preparing the grounds to offer social security services to the informal sector, which forms the bulk of the Gambia workforce.

The Managing Director

The Managing Director of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation
commenced the presentation by providing members with a comprehensive overview of the Corporation’s background, highlighting key amendments to the SSHFC Act that define its mandate and operations. This informative session shed light on the regulatory framework shaping the corporation’s activities, underscoring the importance of legislative compliance in fulfilling its mission and responsibilities.

Officials at the AGM

The Managing director’s address resonated as a testament to the corporation’s commitment to transparency and governance, setting a tone of informed engagement and strategic vision for stakeholders.

In 2023, contributions from members of the Federated Pension Scheme reached
D321,321,000, representing a notable 4.63% increase from the previous year. This growth underscores the continued commitment of scheme members towards securing their retirement futures.

Additionally, the National Provident Fund recorded contributions totaling D424,882,000 during the same period, highlighting the significant financial support provided by participants in this essential fund.

These contributions not only reflect individuals’ dedication to their long-term financial well-being but also contribute to the overall strength and sustainability of social security initiatives within the nation. The steady growth in contributions speaks volumes about citizens’ confidence and engagement in securing their future welfare.

In 2023, the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) disbursed
significant benefits to members of its Federated Pension Scheme and National Provident Fund.

According to the Managing Director, a total of D242,819,000 was paid out to members of the Federated Pension Scheme during the year. Additionally, D140,461,000 in benefits was distributed to members of the National Provident Fund for the same
period.

The Managing Director of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) emphasized the organization’s commitment to leveraging technology for enhanced member services. Under the new IT system, member registration will transition to a remote process through the member interface, streamlining accessibility and convenience.

Furthermore, the IT overhaul will facilitate online account maintenance, allowing for seamless payments and remittance scheduling. Claim processing and benefit payments are set to undergo significant improvement, with the goal of reducing processing time from 30 days to under 10 working days, ensuring timelier disbursement of benefits to members.

In a move towards digital transformation, members will have access to their statements online via the member portal, marking a shift towards efficient and paperless statement production.

These advancements underscore SSHFC’s dedication to modernizing operations and providing members with efficient, user-friendly services in line with evolving
technological trends.

The Managing Director of SSHFC discussed plans to extend social protection to the informal sector cautiously. Effective strategies and implementation frameworks were deliberated to ensure successful entry into this sector, aiming to provide vital social security to a broader population segment. This initiative underscores SSHFC’s commitment to inclusive social protection and addressing evolving societal needs.

Board Members Election

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) oversaw the elections for representatives of the National Provident Fund (NPF), Federated Pension Scheme (FPS), and Pensioners’ Representative on the SSHFC Board during the event. Mr. Abubacarr Darbo, Memunatu J.Camara, and Mr. Alhagi Alieu Faal were all re-elected to the position of Federated Pension Scheme, National Provident Fund, and Pensioners Representative, respectively, unopposed, as no opposing candidates contested these positions against them.

Issuing of Awards

The Corporation recognized and awarded the top twenty most compliant institutions in 2023 for their exemplary adherence to employee contribution payments, as stipulated by the Social Security and Housing Finance Act of 2023.

These awards highlight SSHFC’s commitment to promoting and rewarding best practices in compliance with social security regulations among institutions. By honoring these compliant organizations, SSHFC encourages industry-wide accountability and responsible practices in fulfilling employee contribution obligations.

This initiative underscores SSHFC’s dedication to fostering a culture of
compliance and cooperation within the business community, ensuring the
sustainability and effectiveness of social security programs for the benefit of
all stakeholders. These include: Gambia Ports Authority, Medical and Health Services Union Gambia, MEGABANK,  Reliance Financial Services, Bakotu Hotel,  St Therese’s Upper Basic School, Africa Global Logistics, Shyben A Madi & Sons, Kindergarten Mulheim, National Disaster Management Agency, Farup Enterprise, Global Security Insurance Company, Gambia Public Procurement Company, Gambia Postal Service (GAMPOST), National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority, Gambia National Library Service Authority, Gambia Maritime Administration, Sonko Jileng Enterprise Ltd, Banjul Shipyard Co. Ltd, and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. 

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