Some angry retirees from various government institutions have staged a peaceful protest outside President George Manneh Weah’s office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, requesting him to mandate the Ministry of Finance to issue pension checks instead of the National Social Security Corporation (NASSCORP).
The protesters who assembled outside the president’s office in Monrovia Thursday, 31 January are lamenting that a decision was taken unknown to them which places NASSCORP in a position to issue paychecks for retirees.
The protestors say they see no reason why Finance Ministry should send them to NASSCORP to collect pensions, when NASSCORP is allegedly only responsible for benefits.
The NASSCORP Act published February 2017 mandates the Corporation to administer the Employee Injury Scheme, the National Pension Scheme and Welfare Scheme.The angry protestors were seen holding placards’ with different inscription written on them.Some read: “We don’t want NASSCORP; President Weah come to our aid,” among others.
According to the protesters, they started their peaceful demonstration since Monday, vowing to continue with it until the president can do something about their situation.
The protesters are saying that they do not want to be issued pension checks, alleging that they won’t get their entire pension correctly.
They are pleading with President Weah to mandate the Ministry of Finance for the reissuance of their various paychecks instead of NASSCORP.
They explain that having worked for government at different institutions, they were pensioned due to old age or other issues.
One of the protesters who spoke to our reporter outside President Weah’s office, Mr. Aaron C. Dennis says their protest was prompted by the decision taken by the Finance Ministry unknown to retirees to collect their pension checks from NASSCORP.According to Mr. Dennis, they haven’t been collecting pension checks from NASSCORP.
“We are different pension group from various ministries and agencies of government who served this government, and after our retirement we were put under the direct supervision of Finance Ministry where we were collecting our pension checks,” Mr. Dennis tells this paper.
According to him, from the 70s, it has been like that, indicating that retirees always get their pension checks from Finance Ministry.
He explains that paying retirees through the Ministry of Finance has been this way simply because the Ministry is the arm of government that is in charge of people in this category.
Mr. Dennis laments that unfortunately, this new year the Ministry told retirees to collect their documents and move to NASSCORP for the collection of their pensions.He says the protest was meant to mainly get President Weah’s attention surrounding the decision taken by Finance Ministry.
“As we speak, there are divisions within the Ministry of Finance among officials regarding the transferring of our pension checks. Though NASSCORP [is] willing to do just what Finance Ministry has asked them to do, but we the protestors are saying no because we don’t trust their policies,” says Mr. Dennis.The protester explains that one of the alleged bad policies that NASSCORP has is the issue of not honoring letter of authority.
According to Dennis, letter of authority means for example, if your father, or mother was an employee of any governmental institution and gets retired before such person dies, Finance Ministry would issue an official letter with the signature of the person, instructing NASSCORP to issue the beneficiaries the pension check.But he claims that when this is done, NASSCORP doesn’t allegedly honor that letter.
Meanwhile another protestor Martha S. Deshield says she was protesting because of her late husband who was former Executive Protection Service (EPS) officer.
According to Martha, her husband died in 2010, and all the time she has been collecting her late husband’s pension checks from Finance Ministry, not NASSCORP.
She says it is surprising that she has been sent to collect her husband’s pension check at NASSCORP.
Martha claims that the bad practices that are ongoing at NASSCORP regarding pensions and benefits are the main reason that protesters converged outside President Weah’s office.
By Lewis S. Teh –Edited by Winston W. Parley