The Deputy Director General of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT), Mr. Amara O. Kuyateh who heads a four-man delegation to the United States of America has made a proposal for a bilateral tie with the Social Security Administration of the United States.
Mr. Kuyateh made this proposal on Tuesday October 13, 2015, during a courtesy call they made to the head office of the Social Security Administration in Baltimore, USA.
The team was received by senior officials including Mr. Scott D. Cash who is the Director for office of Agreements, Negotiation & Analysis in the office of International Programs, Mr. Vance N. Teel who is the Associate Commissioner for International Programs and Mr. Richard A. Graham who is the Deputy Associate Commissioner for the office of International Programs.
NASSIT Deputy Director General said that the visit is not only geared towards the exchange of ideas relating to the operations of the duo administrations, but also to get an overview of the Social Security operations in the United States.
He added that the team is in the United States to have an introductory discussion that can lead to a bilateral arrangement between the two institutions.
In his brief statement, the Head of Research, Planning and Actuarial Division, Mr. Joe Hassan Kalokoh as member of the visiting team, said that the United States is home to hundreds of Sierra Leoneans who have migrated in search of jobs.
He noted that it is the responsibility of the Sierra Leone Government to assess the extent of Social Security coverage its citizens are receiving here. Mr. Kalokoh stated that it is his wish to have a thorough understanding of how the entire Social Security System in the United States is operating, so that they can learn from its complexities.
According to him, the Sierra Leone Social Security System may not be advanced enough to immediately enter into bilateral agreement with its counterpart in the USA due to several differences in key institutional parameters but that the visit will be a starting point to understanding how each institution operates.
In response, the Commissioner Mr. Vance Teel, expressed delight in receiving the visiting team and quickly mentioned that the United States Social Security administration is more than Eighty years old and one of the fourth largest employer in the United States.
According to him, many of the federal and state programs that provide income security to U.S. families have their roots in the Social Security Act in 1935 and that since the late 1970’s the United States has established a network of bilateral Social Security agreements that coordinate the U.S. Social Security program with the comparable programs of several other countries. He said the United States has bilateral Social Security agreements with over 25 countries including Italy.
The Commissioner agreed with Mr. Kalokoh that to allow for bilateral agreement between two Social Security administrations, serious consideration has to be given to key features of each country’s Security System.
He added that such process could involve actuarial analysis and may take time to materialize. He however concluded that taking such initiative is a laudable venture for the Social Security Administration in Sierra Leone.
The second session of the meeting involved a PowerPoint presentation made by the Senior Advisor at the Communications Department, Mr. Luis Alicea, for the benefit of the visiting team.
Mr. Alicea gave a detailed overview of the United States Social Security Program. There was experience sharing during the presentation and it was clear that there is not much differences, and that the NASSIT Scheme is much more generous in some areas.
Other members of the delegation include Mr. Pasco Temple, Information Attache at the Sierra Leone Embassy in the United States and Mr. Osman Conteh Diaspora Officer.
Pasco Gerald Temple
Embassy of Sierra Leone to the United States
1701 19th St. NW