The Shadow Minister for Energy and Minerals, John Mnyika (CHADEMA) will on Monday table a private Bill in Parliament to press the House to review the amendments made to the Social Security Laws (Amendments) Bill, 2012.
The law whose amendments were made in April, this year, restricts members of various pension funds to claim their contributions until they attain the statutory retirement age of 55 years. It also bars members of the social schemes from pulling out from the funds even when they lose their jobs under whatever circumstances.
Already, Mnyika who is also Ubungo legislator has written an official letter to the National Assembly Secretary Dr Thomas Kashilila expressing his determination to table the bill under certificate of emergence.
Already, there are reports that about 2,000 workers from the mining sector are planning to stage a demonstration in Dar es Salaam today in protest against the amendments. Police have issued a permit for the procession.
Addressing a press conference yesterday here, Mnyika said he reached the decision after noticing that the newly released timetable for the remaining ministries to present their budget estimates for the 2012/13 fiscal year, had not included private motions posed by legislators.
Mnyika said following the parliament timetable to fail to include private motions, the move indicated that, the House was not in position to discuss the matter which had brought confusion among social security beneficiaries.
Thanks to the parliamentary standing regulations 81 (1) of 2007, Mnyika said that the section empowers any lawmaker to present a private bill.
“In order for the bill to be mentioned three times in the house, I am planning to collect 10 signatures from legislators supporting the motion, before tabling a private bill of law on Monday,” he said noting that time for announcing the bill will be counted only if section 81 (5) of the parliamentary regulation is observed.
The regulation requires the legislator posing a private bill to have collected at least 10 signatures.
However, Mnyika said his move to table the private bill of law does not intend to scrap the whole amendment -- only to remove a section that prohibits members of the pension funds to claim their contributions until they reach the statutory retirement age.
In addition, the legislator said after writing an official letter to Dr Kashilila, he will be legally provided with all official documents that include the amended bill to help him defend his bill he intends to present.
Mnyika advised Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) to immediately announce the decision to revoke their recently announcement which instructs beneficiaries intending to withdraw from funds to stop from doing so until the next six months.
He said it was lawful for SSRA to prohibit its members from claiming their contributions while understanding that the amended act had no regulations.
“I apology to my voters that we failed to prevent this terrible Act before being signed by the President as a law, likewise SSRA should also do the same … apology to the public,” he said.
Mnyika also said the section was not presented during the first announcement of the bill and it was only tabled in the second reading of the bill without clear notice as to why it was included at all.
MPs had since expressed their “dismay” on the amendments
The government says the Social Security Laws (Amendments) Bill, 2012 were made in order to harmonize various Acts that established the country’s social security schemes and the establishment of the Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) itself.
SSRA authority says it is preparing guidelines to enable members and stakeholders in the social security sector to get their benefits according to the nature of their work.
The MP’s decision comes hardly two weeks after Kisarawe MP on CCM ticket Seleman Jafu caused a furor in Parliament when he wanted MPs to press the government to table the amendment Bill to the Act immediately to rectify the anomaly.
Jafu told the august House that, bearing in mind the amendments to the Social Security Laws Act, 2012 prevented employees from accessing their terminal benefits until they retired at 55, it was imperative for the Parliament to discuss the matter in order to rectify the situation.
“By discussing this matter the Parliament will not only be defending wananchi but also we, MPs ourselves, who subscribe to these pension funds,” he was quoted as telling the House.
However, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Standing Orders, under Speaker Anne Makinda, requested Jafu to put his thoughts in writing -- and submit the same to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Service -- for public hearing before advising the speaker on the next step.