The Minister for Labour and Employment, Gaudentia Kabaka tabled the Social Security Laws (Amendment) Bill yesterday proposing changes in several sections including section 22 to enable employees who are sacked to access their pension or gratuity.
The bill aims at amending various social security funds to empower the Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) to supervise and control the Social security sector efficiently.
The bill proposes also to enable an employee whose retirement age forces him to retire but is still contributing to the fund (The Locals Authorities Pensions Fund) to have the right for a bonus.
It also proposes that investments by the funds should follow the decree issued by the Bank of Tanzania in collaboration with the SSRA.
As for the National Health Insurance Fund Act, Kabaka said cap 395 needs to be amended to link the said Act and the SSRA Act chapter 135.
Regarding the PPF Pension Fund Act 2012, the minister said the amendments state clearly the retirement age of a member (55) years but his membership will continue until he reaches 60 years.
“It is proposed that a member of PPF who retires before reaching the qualifying period should get all his contributions with interest from the employer.
The Parliamentary Committee on Community Development Services however proposed that the idea suggested by LAPF to give bonus to members who retire but continue to contribute be adopted by all social security funds.
Presenting the committee report, the acting chairperson, Said Mtanda said section 18 of the bill which amends section 38 of LAPF Act that directs a member to retire overpaid money has also to consider members who are underpaid to be compensated plus a penalty of 2 percent.
The shadow minister for Labour and Employment David Silinde in his presentation stressed that the government should consider establishing a universal pension for all elderly people to have the right to pension.
Silinde said there were 2.1 million elders countrywide and 82 percent of them were living in rural areas.
“Until now only 4 percent of all the elders are pensionable and they were once employed. Two thirds of those getting pension are men,” he said.
The shadow minister said further that 96 percent of all elders, majority of them farmers and livestock keepers have no pension though they are contributing heavily to the development of the nation.
“Statistics indicate that households with elders which are almost a quarter of all households in the country are poor.
“We the opposition wants the government to take this proposal and grant a pension of at least 20,000/- per month to each elder in order to help them cope with the difficult life they are leading,” said Silinde.
The opposition stand was supported by CCM Special seats Member of Parliament, Stella Manyanya who wanted the funds to take part of the payments to help the elderly in areas of health, for purchase of medicines when they fail to access them in hospitals.
Sumve MP-CCM, Richard Ndassa said the idea of giving liberty to an individual to join any social security scheme will kill some of the funds.
“We are sure people will want to join funds that is sound financially and in that others will die a natural death,” he said