Ellen Dedicates US$11M NASSCORP Complex

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has officially dedicated a US$11 million commercial complex constructed by the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) at the ELWA junction in Paynesville City.The complex is intended to raise revenue for the government to further its development drive, according to NASSCORP officials.President Sirleaf dedicated the magnificent picturesque structure, which faces and can be viewed directly from the country’s most significant entry route from the Roberts International Airport (RIA), on Friday, June 6 at an elaborate ceremony held in one of the many beautiful halls in the building.  She termed the building as a classic example of the process of transforming Liberia.“I’m just pleased to be with all of you today to give recognition to the transformative contribution that have been made by those who are here and those institutions that have made this event possible, firstly NASSCORP itself.  An official of the entity has already mentioned where this corporation was in 2006 and where they are today,” President Sirleaf said.The Liberian leader lauded the kind of transformative initiatives that the corporation is embarking on with specific references to restructuring, re-organization, sound management system that is now being employed at the entity and what she termed as their investment quality.“Let me say that I’m very proud of the kind of work that is ongoing here at NASSCORP, their restructuring, re-organization, their sound quality management and their investment quality. All of these have made them today a key contributor to our development as evidenced by what we see here today,” President Sirleaf said.The Liberian President indicated that transformation is a process, and so the work of NASSCORP is not over. She said the leadership of the corporation must work to ensure completion of the civil service reform, which is at an advanced stage, and then move on to the pension reform, which she said will be the very basis upon which the government will meet its full obligations to NASSCORP.When all of these are done, it will give them the capital they need to expand their investment into facilities such as this. “We will continue to work with you,” she told the NASSCORP managementShe said completion of the multipurpose building has further demonstrated that Liberians still have a sense of what they want their country to be in the future and will help government achieve it. “It will now fast track the completion of the civil service and pension reforms that will enable government to fulfill its obligations to NASSCORP in order that they expand their activities to other parts of country,” she noted.The President expressed delight that the project is owned by Liberia and was built by a Liberian company, ECOCON Incorporated, demonstrating the realization of the Liberianization policy. ECOCON is owned and management by Henry Q. Taylor, a Liberian architect.NASSCORP Director General Dewitt vonBallmoos described the structure as a long-term investment that will help raise revenue for government as negotiations are well advanced for full occupation of the commercial complex by investors.He expressed delight that the corporation without a loan or borrowing from any commercial bank exclusively raised the US$11million used to construct the building.Mr. vonBallmoos, however, thanked the commercial banks for always servicing the benefits of its beneficiaries that he said has further brought confidence between beneficiaries and NASSCORP.He encouraged those he referred to as non-compliant employers to see reason why they should let their employees take advantage of the opportunities offered by NASSCORP.NASSCORP Investment and Development Specialist, Christopher McBorrough, said investment remains a critical function in the management of the Social Security Program (SSP). “Indeed, risk management, assets diversification and the maximization of returns remains cardinal to NASSCORP investment strategy.In 2006, the management of the Corporation inherited a non-performing investment portfolio assets base of US$4.7 million which subsequently included US$3.5 million disbursed before the 1990 civil war on land acquisition and some construction works.To date, NASSCORP’s management through the re-organization of the investment division, strategic investment policy guidelines and bold initiatives, can boast of a total current investment portfolio assets base of US$33.7 million. This is a 617 percent increment that stands at US$29 million.This comprises two core categories, real property which is 72 percent and financial assets, which is 28 percent. In terms of real property, the entity has commercial and residential properties in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, sixteen-bedrooms guesthouse in Voinjama, Lofa county, a property in Kakata, Margibi County and other acquired land in Monrovia and its environs.In terms of financial assets, NASSCORP has US$4M share in Ecobank, US$2.5M share in LBDI, US$1M debenture share in Cellcom and approximately US$10M in fixed income deposits at various local commercial banks.The dedication of this complex is in fulfillment of a statutory requirement that the NASSCORP invests 25 percent of its insurable earnings into profitable and realistic ventures.Accordingly, the management in 2007 drafted an investment policy and strategic document, purposely to fast track its investment activities to meet long-term benefit commitments and cater to the socio-economic well being of Liberians.Construction of the commercial complex began on April 18, 2009, and is the single largest infrastructure investment under the investment portfolio of the corporation. The complex includes an international conference center, shopping malls, office spaces, and banking facilities, among others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Cataract surgeries not being offered at ophthalmology centre

first_imgThe National Ophthalmology Centre at Port Mourant, Berbice, has the capacity to perform hundreds of cataract surgeries but currently because of poor budgeting, the Centre had not conducted any for the past three years.The $140 million facility at Port Mourant was commissioned in July 2009 and was the first specialised Ophthalmology centre in the Caribbean and Latin America.Head of the Regional Health Committee Zamal Husain admits that the institution is operating way below its capacity. In fact, there are no cataract surgeries done over the past three years.In May, Public Health Minister Volda Laurence announced that shortly the Centre will recommence cataract surgeries. Five months after, nothing has happened.Hussain, who was addressing the issue at the RDC said the institution has the capacity to carry out hundreds of cataract surgeries.Relating to figures, Hussain noted after its first 10 months of operation, there were 21,074 persons seen at the Centre.He noted that 8932 were seen for refractive errors of the eye. One thousand five hundred and thirty-six surgeries were done, of which 316 were cataract surgeries.“This hospital had the capacity to do about 10,000 surgeries and if we leave this very important Ophthalmology hospital nonfunctional, imagine what will happen to the people of Guyana.”The National Ophthalmology Centre has been out of kits to perform cataract surgeries for more than two years. Region Six Chairman David Armogan says that is so because of poor budgeting.However, Director of Regional Health Services, Jevaughn throws the blame on Central Government, saying it does not fall under the regional administration. He added that it is the Public Health Ministry that is tasked with providing drugs and medical supplies and also to ensure that the national ophthalmology hospital is up and running.The Cuban Government had funded the facility for nationals of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). Armogan, who was at that time the head of the Regional Health Committee and also the President of the Rotary Club of New Amsterdam which was instrumental in arranging and facilitating some of the surgeries of the Centre, says the National Ophthalmology Centre at Port Mourant should be up and running.He recalled that an Indian national was brought to the Ophthalmology hospital and was performing 40 surgeries per day.Armogan also noted that another surgeon, who is currently attached to the New Amsterdam Hospital, performs 10 cataract surgeries per day. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img read more