Dr. Nsour Affirms the Importance of Collaboration Between all Bodies and Organizations Interested in the Social Protection Sector in Jordan.
The SSC held a preparatory meeting as a preliminary step to the national workshop that the corporation will hold about the possibility of launching the Social Protection Floor Initiative. This event was made possible due to the cooperation of the SSC with ILO, relevant UN and civil society agencies such as WHO and UNICEF, the tripartite stakeholders, and concerned ministries in Jordan. The purpose of holding this preparatory meeting was to introduce this initiative, discuss the potential of launching it in Jordan, organize a work team comprised of those interested in social protection, and conclude an action plan toward implementing the Social Protection Floor in Jordan.
The Director General of the Social Security Corporation, Dr. Maen Nsour gave a presentation entitled "Social Security Coverage Expansion is For Everyone”. In this presentation he reviewed the most significant projects and initiatives contributing to promoting and instilling social protection in Jordan while mentioning the most distinguished theme of the Coverage Expansion Project which was launched by SSC at the end of 2008 as well as the reforms that have taken place in the new Social Security Law.
Dr. Nsour also stated that the Coverage Expansion Project that is intended to include all enterprises employing one laborer or more comes according to the directives of the SSC to strengthen the social protection of this category considering the fact that they are most in need of the protection provided by social security and the retirement salaries provided by the SSC. Their coverage shall enhance the protection of the groups and expand the range of social security within society especially as some of these groups remain excluded from coverage under the umbrella of social security. The stages of this project were launched in all governorates gradually in phases and it is expected for this project to include all laborers working in the country within this current year upon completing the final stage which was launched on the 1st of May of this year in Amman and Zarqa governorates.
He further added that the number of active subscribers was (80,000) at the end of 2010 then by mid this year it increased to (940,000) subscribers. Similarly, the number of active enterprises covered was (28,000) at the end of last year which increased to (50,000) enterprises by mid this year. That said, it is noted that social security currently covers (58%) of laborers working in the country and so the SSC aspires to eventually include the entire workforce as well as all citizens because this stands as an importantant strategic goal for SSC.
He also affirmed that social security is not only set for providing pensions, but also stands as one of the important pillars of social protection which should be focused on as an effective instrument to promote social security, justice, and solidity in society. This is because social security systems are considered effective mechanisms that eliminate poverty, unemployment, help to maintain economic development, and encourage work. For example, old age pensions contribute greatly to the process of elimination of poverty i.e. the SSC conducted a study revealing that retirement salaries lowered the percentage of poverty in Jordanian society by a rate of 6%.
Dr. Nsour indicated that the new Social Security Law has supported the approach of SSC in extending social security coverage to the entire workforce and to all citizens by means of redefining 'the insured' to being the 'natural self' instead of the 'hired worker.' This then allows business to cover new groups that previously were excluded such as business owners, self-employed people, business partners, and housewives.
He also stated that the new law brought forth a bundle of fundamental insurance reforms such as introducing new benefits and insurances, and rectified all defects and disparities which existed in the former social security law. One of the most significant advantages of these reforms brought forth by the new amendments is the correlation between retirement salaries and inflation in the country (i.e. annual living cost). This should ensure to sustain buying power in addition to the new insurances such as unemployment and maternity that will be applied on the 1st of September 2011. In addition to health insurances which are important insurances that the corporation is currently analyzing in order to implement them in the future.
He also affirmed that one of the most important goals of the new Social Security Law is to enhance the protection of the labor force by extension of the coverage base, application of new insurances and the promotion of occupational health and safety by obligating establishments and workplaces to comply with health policies and safety standards. As well as to strengthen the principle of good governance within the SSC and its investment body to promote and strengthen its performance on insurance and investment levels and firmly establish its role in developing a more in-depth approach for social protection in the Kingdom. Moreover, the new law rectified all insurance disparities which existed in the former law such as the issue of early retirement and the nonexistence of upper limits to salaries applicable to social security deduction.
On another note, Dr. Nsour clarified that the SSC’s insurance expenditures makes up (2.3%) of the GDP.
Dr. Nsour affirms the importance of collaboration between all bodies and organizations interested in the sector of social protection in Jordan.
The ILO’s representative, ÇæÑÓáÇ ßæáßí presented a working paper about the concept and vision of the “Social Protection Floor Initiative" and the required steps to launch this initiative in Jordan. UNICEF’s regional office delegate, Mr. Roberto Beets and UNICEF’s delegate in Jordan Ms. Maha Himsi reviewed the concept of social protection from UNICEF’s perspective. WHO’s representative Ms. Tatiana Kour gave a presentation about the concept of social protection from the perspective of WHO.
It is noteworthy to mention that the “Social Protection Floor Initiative" was launched by UN in May 2009 and was then adopted by ILO and UNICEF. That said, this initiative is a result of the collaboration between all of these parties to encourage the creation of social policies and to provide at a minimum a source of income and social protection for everyone.