Educating staffs on the new Act Just few meters away from the ELWA junction adjacent the Liberia Revenue Authority or LRA stands a twin building overlooking the main Tubman Boulevard. The twin building is a modern medical diagnostic center being constructed by the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation or NASSCORP for short.
The buildings which are divided by the A.B. Tolbert Road will be linked by an overpass connecting the main clinic and the laboratories and emergency rooms. This project is part of the achievements of NASSCORP under the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration which is winding down.
Quality health delivery is one of the major challenges facing the country, as the social security service provider itself has spent thousands of United States Dollars over time on beneficiaries health related bills.
The idea of the medical diagnostic center was reinforced during the Ebola crisis that left a death toll of over 4,000 people here. During the early days of the Ebola, specimen had to be flown outside of Liberia for testing. Most results were due in three days before the status of that patient could be known.
That left many patients hanging in the balance at the time before donor partners could rush in with on spot testing kits. Ebola is now over and the need to improve the Liberian health sector remains an uphill task and this is where NASSCORP is stepping in.
The Social Security provider provides future financial security for those under the schemes - employees of both the public and private sectors of Liberia in the event of occupational injury, old age, invalidity or death.
It was against this backdrop that the management team at NASSCORP, decided to build such state of the ark facility to bring relief to many under privilege Liberians who cannot afford to fly outside of the country to have access to such facilities.
Construction work at the diagnostic center is 99% completed with some of the equipment for the center already in town while some are being shipped. The entire construction is expected to be completed and the facility handed over as part of Mrs. Sirleaf’s deliverables before she leaves office in early January 2018.
The Ground Floor of the center includes a Radiology Room, MRI Scanning Room, CT Scan Room, an Emergency Room and a Blood Specimen Room. Also on the Ground Floor are disinfected changing rooms and bathrooms. Adjacent are cashier and waiting rooms.
Inside of the building has been designed to have a central cooling system supported by a generator room with battery system and a backup for electricity.
The X-ray Room contains EKG, Ultra Sound and Mammogram testing, while the Emergency Room which is situated at the back of the building will enable safe entry for patients to the center. All those entering the examination rooms will have to be air-filtered before entry to prevent contamination.
The second floor of the center consists of toilet facilities and testing laboratories where blood analysis will be done rather than taking blood samples out of the country. Lab test done at the NASSCORP Medical Diagnostic Center can be sent to any patient’s medical doctor abroad for assessment results.
The third floor which is overlooking the bridge or overpass connecting the center to the main clinic across the A.B. Tolbert Road, has rooms for short stay patients and an additional VIP Rooms and VIP Lounge manned by clinical supervisors.
These gains are just in line with its mission, which is providing future financial security for those under the scheme. “As the working population of the country ages, with more workers retiring, we as a corporation will leave no stone unturned in paying out benefits to retirees and other claimants,” said NASSCORP Director General Dewitt vonBallmoos.
In addition to all of these achievements, NASSCORP has introduced a new Act. The Act replaces Decree No. 14 of the People’s Redemption Council of the Armed forces of Liberia and to create a new Chapter 89 of the Executive Law Establishing the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation of the Republic of Liberia.”
The new Act was passed by the National Legislature on December 27, 2016 and signed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on February 13, 2017, after which it was printed into handbills.
With the passage of this new Act, the administration of the civil service pension program has been abolished the transferred to NASSCORP for incorporation into the National Pension Scheme. Therefore, former civil servants and public servants that were receiving pension benefits under the civil service pension program will continue to receive such pension benefits under the administration NASSCORP.
Additionally, the new Act specifies that, “Every person to whom Decree No. 14 applied before amendment to said Act shall continue to be credited for the number of months that person has contributed to social security scheme.”
nder the new Act, government shall make budgetary allotment for the payment of existing pension liabilities under the defunct civil service non-contributory pension program to former civil servants and public servants who acquired rights under the civil service pension program.
The new Act sees contribution increase from 7.75% to 10%. Under this arrangement, employers will pay 2% towards Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) and Employers and Employees will pay 4% each under the National Pension Scheme (NPS). Other changes see increase of the vesting period from eight years four months to 12 years, the payment of survivor’s pension in lump-sum, and the receipt of death benefit by widower without the recondition of dependence of his wife for support as contained in the old law Under the new Act, government shall make budgetary allotment for the payment of existing pension liabilities under the defunct civil service non-contributory pension program to former civil servants and public servants who acquired rights under the civil service pension program.
It also urges government to make budgetary allotment for the payment of accumulated pension liabilities of the Government due NASSCORP in settlement of pension premium for public-sector employees. The new Act extends coverage of the social security pension program to the President of Liberia, the Vice President of Liberia, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme court of Liberia, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, members of the Legislature, Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, members of the Judiciary and cabinet ministers, the Police and other paramilitary organizations.
By Othello B. Garblah