Employers urge govt to solve pensions funds’ challenges

24Mar 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Employers urge govt to solve pensions funds’ challenges

THE Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) has asked the government to address some challenges facing social security schemes in the country in order to improve the sector and enable more people to join such organisations.

ATE executive director, Dr Agrrey Mlimuka

ATE executive director, Dr Agrrey Mlimuka, made the call yesterday in Dar es Salaam at a one-day workshop which was organised by the Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA). The event was aimed at educating employers on various issues relating to the sector.

In a speech read on his behalf by the association’s manager for Legal Affairs, Suzan Ndomba, Dr Mlimuka said recently employers in the country have been facing challenges on the implementation of and compliance with various social security laws as well as the workers’ compensation law.

He said that considering the number of pension schemes working in the country, employers were confronted with different funds whose compliance and requirements were not the same.

For example, he said, the National Social Security Fund Act 2015 has amended the word ‘salary’ to include bonus, allowance and other payments to be part of the salary, contrary to the definition of salary in social security amendment (amendment Act No 5 of 2012).

Employers have also been facing a challenge in recovering loans from pension funds when employees are terminated from employment while owing loans acquired from the employer.

“Pension funds do not allow an attachment or employer to recover the dues of an employee from contributions through the pension funds. This has been a challenge to employers who have advanced loans to employees...it could also make us reluctant to issue loans to employees on fear of such practices,” he said.

He said another challenge was multiplicity of benefits which also needed to be addressed by the SSRA, as some pension funds provided medical benefits that were made mandatory under the Workers Compensation Fund and National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

He added that ATE as a stakeholder in social security appreciated the work and initiatives that have been taken by SSRA to ensure that employers complied with social security. He appealed on SSRA to continue finding ways of solving and addressing challenges.

“No doubt that social security is very important to the livelihoods of all Tanzanians and efforts need to be made collectively to ensure that informal sectors are contributing,” he said

For her part, the SSRA acting director general, Dr Carina Wangwe, said the authority had been conducting various studies on how to improve the social security industry in Tanzania.

She said they would soon convene a meeting with stakeholders who will comment on various steps taken by the authority so far.

We understand the existence of various challenges and have been working on them, but we need more comments from you including on how to merge some of the similar benefits provided by different pension funds,” she said.

A participant identified as Nawaz Ahmed Ali from Tabora Region, urged SSRA to conduct similar meetings for other regions.

He said there were many people who still did not understand the functions of SSRA and how the pension funds worked, hence more education was needed.

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