KATHMANDU, July 4: On June 26, the Social Security Fund published a notice calling upon interested consultants to submit letters of intent for conducting a detailed survey on social security schemes the government is planning to roll out.
More than a week has passed since then, but no one has submitted a proposal. And it seems that the fund will not get any within the deadline of July 10 as the country lacks such experts.
These schemes are generally designed by actuaries, people who have graduated in actuarial science, a study which applies mathematics and statistics to assess market opportunities and nature of risk to compute premium rates. These people are also the ones who fix premium rates for insurance policies and handle account books of insurance companies.
´As far as I know only two Nepalis have taken these courses and both of them are not in the country,´ Khem Prasad Baral, consultant at Nepal Insurance Company, who has an experience of over two decades in the country"s insurance sector, told Republica. ´Because of this shortage, insurers bring experts from India whenever need arises.´
Though the fund has said it would accept proposals only from Nepali citizens, it might have to seek international consultants. ´But we don"t have adequate funds,´ Kebal Prasad Bhandari, executive director of SSF, told Republica, and informed that only around Rs 3.5 million has been allocated for the purpose.
The Social Security Bill, which has been approved by Ministry of Labor and Employment, had identified six core schemes to be rolled out over the years: unemployment, disability, maternity, medical, dependent and old-age benefits.
´The prospective consultant is expected to develop the entire social security system from scratch, suggest how one-percent tax to be collected for the scheme would be utilized, derive formulas to compute premium rates for individual schemes and come up with implementation plans,´ Bhandari said.
Currently, the fund has been collecting one percent tax from basic salaries of workers of the formal sector to launch the schemes. In future, it is planning to channel 10 percent of workers" basic salary, which is currently being deducted to contribute to the provident fund, into the fund.
Likewise, employers have also pledged to contribute 20 percent of employees" basic salary to the fund, which includes money contributed to provident fund and extended as benefits. In this manner, the fund is planning to collect 31 percent of salary of every employee to roll out social security schemes.