The National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) on Friday 10th March, 2023 engaged members of the Fourth Estate on a workshop at the Galliness Paradise Hotel in Bo on the theme, Moving into the Informal Sector, the Role of the Press.

The seminar attracted several stakeholders of the media landscape who in diverse ways pledged their unflinching commitment to the realisation the NASSIT Director General’s desired goal.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman, Mr.Khalil Kallon, who is the Executive Secretary of the Independent Media Commission, commended the Trust for its successes since its establishment in 2001, especially on the seamless pension payment which has lifted many Sierra Leoneans out of poverty.

He regarded the extension of social protection coverage to the informal sector as a laudable venture that would give every Sierra Leonean the much deserved respect upon retirement. “The media, as an agent of socialization, is at the center of such undertaking”, he said, while emphasizing on the partnership between the Trust and the Media that has now ensured a dignified retirement for journalists.

Welcoming the Government representatives, authorities and the Fourth Estate to the workshop, the NASSIT Regional Manager, South, John Lamina, thanked God for His mercy and management for hosting the programme in the south region for which he was proud.

In his statement, the Vice president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Sahr Gbanga, congratulated the leadership of the Trust and its team on organizing a workshop for media practitioners with such a befitting theme.

He spoke about the role of the informal sector in creating employment, adding that the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists was with the conviction that NASSIT would always serve as collateral for Sierra Leone’s economic growth to which they (SLAJ) are an integral part.

Delivering his statement, Mohamed Fuaad Daboh, the Director General of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust, thanked the Fourth Estate for being there for and with the Trust through the journey of managing the social protection in the country.

He paid a befitting tribute to the late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah for his foresight in setting up the Scheme. “Social protection,” he said, “is a key element of the country’s national strategy to promote human capital development, political stability and inclusive growth”.

He noted that because of the passion for quality service delivery, management, under his stewardship, had decided to bring the informal sector fully on board.

“As such the workshop is an idea-sharing platform with journalists as content providers the center piece”, he said.

He therefore called on the Fourth Estate to use its various platforms to disseminate the information gotten therein about the Trust which venture he described as a national service. He underscored the existential necessity of bringing the informal sector onboard as they account for 92% of the work force in the country.

In his keynote address, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Alpha Timbo, described Social Protection as a Right for all Sierra Leoneans as enshrined in Chapter 2, Sub-Sections 8 and 9 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991.

“The conduct of the workshop is to further interact with media practitioners, enhance their understanding about the processes and procedures and other emerging issues of the Trust for onward publication”, he emphasised.

He pledged the continued support of H.E the President Rt. Brig. Dr. Julius Maada Bio and his Ministry to the process.

The Acting Solicitor Secretary, Israel Tejan, made a succinct presentation on the review/amendment of the NASSIT Act No. 5 of 2001, while the Coordinator of the Informal Sector Secretariat, Cyril Jalloh, presented on the extension of social security to the informal sector workers.

The Senior Lecturer in the department of Mass Communication, Fourah Bay College, Dr. Tonya Musa, presented on The role of the press in extending social protection to the informal sector.

The workshop was climaxed by a question-and-answer session.