The managing director-designate of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) has said that the corporation’s investment portfolio is worth over US$80 million, while cash in banks with fluctuations is as high as US$30 million.
Managing Director Dewitt von Ballmoos said most of NASSCORP’s investments are in real estate, with its largest investment being the building housing the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) at ELWA Junction; an office complex in Buchanan; a guest house in Kakata; a 16 bedroom facility in Voinjama, Lofa County; while the latest investment is a diagnostic medical center in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, behind the NASSCORP House, which he said will be online by September 2017. The corporation is also building its new headquarters on 24th Street in Sinkor.
Von Ballmoos, who together with deputy managing director-designate Nya D. Twayen recently appeared before the Senate Committee on Social Security, Pension and Insurance, denied speculations and reports that NASSCORP has US$9 million in savings with First International Bank, by saying “the corporation’s Board has a policy that we do not have more than 30 percent of any money in any bank. We are saving with every bank in the country and nobody has more than 30 percent of our money.” Mr. von Ballmoos emphasized that the corporation has not encountered any losses with any of the banks they are dealing with, contrary to fears that such was the case.
He told the committee chaired by River Cess County Senator Francis Saturday Paye that he has worked with NASSCORP for the past 11 years – six years as deputy and another six years as head of the corporation. “And as you know when you run an institution, you have programs and policies that are in place that you want to continue…besides my passion for what I do, it is also standard practice among all social security institutions over the world, that the heads are given tenures so as to complete their projections and progress they have envisioned for the corporation. So, after a reform of the old social security program that has been in place since 1988 without a reform, and after we have come to the place and changed it, it is in the wisdom of the Legislature to see it fit to go into best practice to suggest tenure for the head and the deputy of the corporation.”
The new tenure for the new managing director will be five years, according to new Act.
He said prior to the approval of the new NASSCORP Act in December 2016, there was no review of the program for five years, noting that “standard practice in social security programs is that one must do an actuarial review every five years of the program to see where you stand. For that, we unfortunately have not done any for a long period, but we were able to do one in 2008, and this is what has now remitted into reform.”
Von Ballmoos said that the old Social security Act did not include members of the Legislature, but that they are entitled to a pension when they are 60 and no longer able to work and retired.
He told the hearing that NASSCORP is supposed to run the pension and employment injury schemes, while noting that the welfare scheme has never been launched, “because there is no money for that, but the welfare portion would have to be fully funded by government as a welfare portion.”
Meanwhile, Mr. von Ballmoos, in an answer to a question posed by journalists, denied that NASSCORP has not been audited for years, adding: “NASSCORP is audited yearly.”
The Committee on Social Security is expected to be on today’s agenda with a report requesting plenary to endorse, adopt, and confirm the two nominees during executive session.
In another development, the Senate takes a two-week Easter break starting today, Tuesday, April 4.