Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 April 2021:
Sierra Leone’s National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA)) has announced that it will be conducting a biometric verification of all those who are on the government’s pension scheme, whose details have been provided by NASSIT and the Accountant General’s Department.
The NCRA made this known in a public notice published last week, informing that the task will be conducted starting 9th of April 2021 to 22nd of April 2021, following a request from both the Ministry of Finance and National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT.
According to the NCRA, the purpose of the exercise is to sanitise the Government Pension Payroll to make it transparent and accountable.
The Verification exercise will be conducted simultaneously at all NASSIT pension paying points and NCRA offices across the country, targeting former Presidents and Vice Presidents, Retired Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Retired Members of Parliament, Retired Judges, Retired NEC Chairpersons and Commissioners, Retired Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of NaCSA, Retired Military and Police Officers on Government Pension Payroll, Retired Custom Officers on Government Pension Payroll. Beneficiaries of Military Officers Killed in Action (KIAs) and Wounded in Action (WIAs).
The NCRA is calling on all active Government Pensioners to go to their usual NASSIT Pension Pay Points and NCRA offices in their respective Districts for Verification.
They also say that sick/bed-ridden Pensioners who might have changed their location or address, are advised to send their Wards/Aids either to the nearest NASSIT Pay Point and the NCRA Offices in their locations during the exercise to update their contact address.
NCRA Verification Roaming Teams will visit all sick/bed-ridden Pensioners at their respective contact address submitted by NASSIT.
Beneficiaries and survivors of Military Officers Killed in Action (KIA) are required to take their Discharged Books and all other relevant documents to the verification centre.
Sierra Leone government pensioners that are living abroad are to provide a notarized Life Certificate bearing their name, pension number and any authentic internationally recognized legal identity details and a recent passport size photo. These documents should be scanned and sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send hard copy to the Director General, NCRA, 2 Walpole Street, Freetown.
Government Pensioners currently residing in Sierra Leone are requested to present Government Pension ID Card and any of the following documents for the Verification: Voter ID Card, Government Pension Payment Receipt, Bank ID Card, Cancelled Cheque leaf (for those with Current Bank Accounts), NCRA Registration Certificate, Retirement Letter from Pensioner’s last institution of work or Discharged Book for Military Officers.
The NCRA is calling on all Government Pensioners to cooperate with the NCRA in order to have a successful Verification exercise; and Pensioners who fail to present themselves for the Verification may not be considered for inclusion in the cleansed Government Pension Payroll.
Accountability and transparency arre the only way forward for a country that is deeply entrenched in corruption. There is no shortage of ideas of how to stop waste and plug holes in government public expenditure. The problem in Sierra leone, we don’t have the political leadership that is brave enough to carry out the reforms needed to promote accountability and fight corruption in the public sector. This barometric verification exercise should not only be limited to pensioners, but to all public servants both current and past serving officials. If this exercise is carried out correctly, sticking with the rules, and carried out without fear or favour then it might help save the public purse much needed funds for other areas crying out for public funding.
So far what we’ve witnessed, the Bio government knows exactly what is required of his government. Indeed his stated objectives at least on paper is to tackle corruption and waste. Three years on, he has failed to produce any results that will change the trajectory of our country’s economic prospects. His efforts or the lack of it, has not only been a monumental failure, but has exacerbated the cancer of corruption in the country. In taking over power, in the mid 80s, President Momoh declared a state of economic emergency. His stated aim was to tackle government waste especially the issues with ghost teachers.
Thirty years later Bio is talking about biometric for pensioners. All in the name of accountability, and putting an end to government waste. It seemed to me our country’s prospects is forever stuck in reverse gear. We need strong leadership. And Bio has been a massive disappointment, even to his fanatical supporters. When is this charade going to end?
“He who wishes to triumph must learn to endure”. The last verification for workers is a success story and now Sierra Leoneans longing to expect more success in this. It is a laudable venture as that will help solve the NASSIT pension benefits problems.