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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Watch dog denounces low use of social security funds

17th June 2011

The local social security sector is greatly underutilised, as most Tanzanians don’t seem to realise the relevance of social security funds in providing an essential safety net, and consequently do not subscribe to any social security fund.

This was said in Dar es Salaam yesterday as the Public Service Week set to run between June 16 and 23 got underway.

Its theme is,'Policies and principles in Africa’s public service sector are a catalyst for strengthening service delivery to society.'

“The number of subscribers to social security funds is very low,” said Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) head of publicity Sarah Msika during a press briefing at the event.

The body was established, among other things, to create awareness on the role of social security funds (SSFs) in the country, according to Msika.

“We want to make sure that all Tanzanians understand the social security sector and see the importance of subscribing to a social security agency,” she said.

SSRA came into being in 2010 under provisions stipulated in the 2008 Social Security (Regulatory Authority) Act, which empowered the agency to set policies and guidelines governing the social security sector, and to establish conditions for compliance and penalties for non-compliant funds.

“We set policies, guidelines and penalties…to ensure (social security) schemes are transparent and accountable to their members and to the public at large,” Msika said referring to a supplement of the 2008 Social Security Act.

Citizens and especially fund members can rest easy since the government’s primary motive in establishing the SSRA, according to Msika, is to make sure that everything done by the multitude of social funds currently operational in Tanzania, ultimately benefits their members.

“We’ll issue operational guidelines for social security schemes so that whatever they do ultimately adds value for their members,” she said, adding that their most important mandate is to “defend the interests of members of these SSFs”, which provide a degree of social insurance and an income safety net to the bulk of Tanzania’s employee population.

She added that the SSRA is the government’s enforcement arm, keeping funds, both private and public in check.

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