WINDHOEK: Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Immanuel Ngatjizeko on Wednesday called on the Social Security Commission (SSC) to expand social security coverage to the informal sector.
Opening a one-day workshop on the SSC’s Strategic Plan for the period 2012 to 2017 in the capital, Ngatjizeko said the SSC Board of Commissioners must also operationalise its National Pension Fund (NPF) and National Medical Benefit Fund (NMBF).
The NPF is aimed at providing pension benefits to all employees that are members, while the NMBF is to pay medical benefits to all members.
Ngatjizeko said research on the implementation of both the NPF and the NMBF has gained momentum and are at an advanced stage, adding that the SSC will soon open public consultations on the proposed designs of these schemes for input before submitting it to his ministry.
He further called on the SSC to enhance stakeholder relationships while strengthening public education and strategic alliances.
“I want to see these areas adequately covered in the new Strategic Business Plan as well,” he demanded.
Ngatjizeko noted that the objectives in the strategic plan will only be achieved if these areas are clearly communicated to all implementers in order to create an understanding on the specific contributions of all stakeholders towards the set targets.
He therefore urged the board to work with stakeholders to enhance the SSC’s performance by 2017 to enable it to reach its overall objective of becoming a world-class provider of social security benefits by 2020.
Meanwhile, the Labour Minister applauded the SSC management team and its board of commissioners for their role in driving the SSC to greater heights.
He said that over the past few years, there has been an improvement and review of levels of social security benefits, while the institution’s balance sheet has grown tremendously and now stands at more than N.dollars 2 billion.
He said the SSC’s contribution to the national goal of poverty eradication through the provision of benefits is very essential, as the lower-income groups would not be able to make ends meet without the vital financial assistance they receive from the SSC.
According to Ngatjizeko, the Commission is an important tool to prevent and reduce poverty, inequality, social exclusion and social insecurity to promote equal opportunity and gender and racial equality, and to support the transition from informal to formal employment.
The strategic plan serves as a guiding document for the SSC’s future planning endeavours, hence the importance of the workshop is to ensure that the plan is consistent and in sync with Central Government’s strategic priorities and policies such as Vision 2030 and the fourth National Development Plan (NDP4).