2.5 billion/- spent on occupational hazard compensations - minister

16Apr 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
2.5 billion/- spent on occupational hazard compensations - minister

THE Workers Compensations Fund (WCF) had by February this year spent 2.52 billion/- in compensating employees for various occupational injuries or beneficiaries of those who died.

Jenista Mhagama, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled) addresses a meeting in Dodoma on Friday between government officials and WCF stakeholders from the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation, Tanzania Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, and Association of Tanzania Employer. Photo: Guardian Correspondent

This was said by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled), Jenista Mhagama, when opening the WCF stakeholders meeting here yesterday.

According to minister Mhagama, WCF has registered 13,500 members since it began operating in July 2016.

She explained that the WCF Act replaced the old law which provided for paltry compensations to members and no compensation for employees who suffered injuries or even death on their way to or from work.

The highest amount paid to victims of occupational hazard before the current WCF Act was 108,000/-, whereas beneficiaries of deceased employees would pocket a mere 83,000/-, Mhagama noted.

She added that although things have since changed tremendously, most employers still don’t understand the benefits of the fund, hence the need to create awareness.

As Tanzania strives to become an industrialized, middle-income economy by 2025, that status is likely to bring with it more occupational hazards that need adequate responses so that workers are well protected.

Said the minister: “President Magufuli keeps insisting that if something like this is not properly understood, especially by private sector players, we should all discuss the subject matter so that we are all on the same page.”

WCF director general Masha Mshomba said the fund has put in place a system that eases both registration of members and payment of claims.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE), Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) - Dodoma branch, and Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) - Dodoma branch.

Last month, WCF called on employers to undertake risk assessments at their work places every year so as to enhance the safety of their employees.

WCF risk assessment manager Naanjela Msangi said the annual safety review is a legal requirement.

She pointed out that changes in operational capacity that occur in many work places normally increase the risk of occupation hazards, hence the need for risk assessments every year to arrest looming disasters.

“The law states clearly that all factories and offices in the country must undertake risk assessments before starting operations,” Msangi said.