Deadline to register at SSF extended to Nov 26

Kathmandu, October 24

The government has extended the deadline for firms to register their details and that of their employees at the Social Security Fund (SSF) to November 26.

The government has said the deadline has been extended considering the difficulty in convincing the private companies to register at the government’s flagship social security scheme.

Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security, Gokarna Bista said that the government will, nevertheless, implement the scheme at any cost. “Sooner or later all firms will have to join the scheme, so those that get registered and start making regular deposits to the fund will get benefits sooner.”

Minister Bista alleged that some intellectuals have been intentionally spreading rumours about the scheme. “Some so-called intellectuals are spreading negative messages. But we are committed to implementing the scheme and I would like to assure that the government is always in the favour of the rights of general workers.”

He said the government is, nonetheless, ready to address all the genuine concerns raised by the concerned stakeholders.

Kapilmani Gyawali, executive director at SSF, informed that at present 8,818 firms and their 100,968 workers have been listed at the fund. The fund has collected total deposits amounting to Rs 76.5 million till date.

The numbers fall far short of the 923,000 firms registered at the Office of Company Registrar.

“Rather than the number of companies, we have to look at how many active firms have been registered at the SSF,” said Minister Bista, adding that many firms registered at the Office of the Company Registrar are defunct.

Earlier, the government had set the final deadline for firms to register their details by the end of fiscal year 2018-19. But, owing to lukewarm response, the government had extended the deadline for registration by three months to October 17.

“The number of firms that has approached us for registration has gone up significantly recently,” Gyawali said, adding that a large number of applications are in the process of being registered.

Gyawali further said that the fund has already given compensation of Rs 25,000 each to the kin of two employees who were registered with the fund and died recently for their final rites. The fund will provide lifetime pension to their families.

Moreover, the fund has prepared the draft of investment modality guideline for depositors. “After the guideline is finalised, we will be able to provide loans to the depositors for education, land and social purpose,” informed Gyawali, adding that SSF will also be able to invest in debentures, mutual funds, productive sector, co-finance projects, among others.

He claimed that the government has expedited its awareness programmes urging formal sector companies to register at SSF.

“We are not taking any action against the employers that have not registered at the fund and are only encouraging them to do so,” Bista said, adding that the government aims to include all the workers, excluding civil servants, in the scheme.

He added it might take some more time than earlier planned to extend scheme for workers in informal sector.