By Nelson Manneh
Social Security Housing and Financial Corporation (SSHFC) has on Monday 10th February presented their Financial Statement, Activity Report and Management Letter for the year ended 2018 to the Public Enterprise Committee (PEC) of the National Assembly.
Hon. Halifa Sallah the chairperson of the Public Enterprise Committee said the 1997 constitution provide for accountability of public enterprises to the National Assembly
“Under sub-section (4) of section 175 it is obligatory for the National Assembly to establish a committee to monitor the activities of all public enterprises with the view to ensure that in all their undertakings they are committed to the principle of efficiency and transparency,” he explained.
The chairperson further said under section 175 sub-section (5) makes it mandatory for public enterprises to submit annual reports on their operation and business transactions within three months of the end of each financial year provided that the PEC committee is also given the responsibility to extend the submission where it deems necessary.
“We inherited a backlog and decided to enter into some form of arrangement with public enterprises to put an end to the backlog. We decided that 2015, 2016 Activity Reports and Financial Statements should be submitted before or on the 30th of June 2018 and 2017 by 31st December 2018 and that would have been the end of the backlog and we should have started afresh and by 31st March 2019 we should have received the 2018 Activity Report and Financial Statement,” he said.
Notwithstanding Hon. Sallah said institutions continued to build up their capacity to deliver as required by the constitution and that is how they entered in to a new contract that by 31st of December 2019, they would receive the Activity Report and Financial Statement for review.
He said they hope that by 31st March 2020, the institutions would comply with their constitutional mandate and would have put an end to the backlog.
“We start the process with the submission of the Activity Report and Financial Statement and that has been done. We now have in our hands the Activity Report, Financial Statement and the Management Letter for the year ended 31st December 2018,” he said.
The Chairperson of the Committee added that it is the duty of the board and management of the SSHFC to present their report to PEC for consideration.
He said they will be guided by the understanding of the functions of the corporation’s Act.
Muhammed Manjang the Managing Director of SSHFC who went through the Activity Report presented to the PEC said the SSHFC was established in 1981 by the SSHFC Act and is responsible for managing the federated pension scheme of public enterprise employees and the National Provident Fund for employees of private companies both of which are capitalized pensions scheme.
“Since its inception, the responsibilities of SSHFC have scaled up to include the management of Industrial Injuries Compensation Fund (IICF) covering the public and private sectors employees, workplace injuries and the provision of affordable housing for the Gambians,” he said.
MD Manjang said as the mandate of the SSHFC widen, so do the challenges that restrain the progress towards the achievement of the demanding roles.
He said some of the key challenges include employer’s noncompliance, high restricted investment opportunity, lower social security coverage among others.
In responding to these challenges he said innovative ways have been laid out to meet the expectations of beneficiaries and stakeholders.
He said they remain hopeful that this will further impact positively and offer better services for the stakeholders, the drive of value creational and operational efficiencies, and prudent investment of members’ fund.
“We are very pleased with the improve operational performance in 2018 with consolidated net new money available for investment increasing by 501% and members fun increasing by 11%,” he said.
MD Manjang went through the report page to page, explaining the table in the Activity Report to the members of the PEC.
Haddy Kebbeh the Acting Financial Director then took Members through the SSHFC Financial Statement for the year-end 2018 in which she highlighted the investment income, noncurrent assets, equity investment, investment properties, current assets, trade and other receivables, other financial assets, cash in the bank and in hand, total current assets, total assets, equity and liability among others.
Ramatoulie Jallow a member of the External Auditors also presented their recommendations to the Public Enterprise Committee (PEC).