19 July 2012

Tanzania: SSRA Seeks to Rectify Pension Deductions Formula

Dodoma — THE newly formed Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) has completed looking into the structures of all pension funds in the country and is advising them on the best formula.

The Minister for Labour and Employment, Ms Gaudensia Kabaka, said while responding to a question by Mr Peter Serukamba (Kigoma-Urban, CCM) that SSRA had rectified the formula for deductions and was advising funds to use it.

"After many complaints on formulas being used and people saying that one pension fund is better than the other in deductions, SSRA has now harmonized these formulas," she said.

Mr Serukamba had asked in his supplementary question why various pension funds used different ways in their deductions and what the government was doing in trying to harmonize these funds.

In a basic question asked on behalf of Ms Salome Mwambu (Iramba East - CCM) by Ms Diana Chilolo (Special Seats - CCM), on why different funds had different pension amounts and why pensions were given out in lump sum in six month intervals, the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Ms Saada Mkuya Salum, said that the government pays pensions using personal accounts in three months intervals in accordance to social security regulations.

"It should be known that there isn't any difference when it comes to issuing of pensions among funds but what differs is the package, especially in calculating premiums for government and other funds like the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Parastatal Pensions Fund (PPF)," she explained.

In her second question, Ms Mwambu wanted to know if the government was aware that the amount of money being disbursed as pension was insufficient and wanted to know if there were plans on making adjustments.

Ms Salum said the government was aware that the current pensions were unable to meet the basic necessities of beneficiaries and that the government had been increasing it whenever they were able to.

"The last time the government revised pensions from 21,601/- to 50,114/- in July 2009. The 21,601/- minimum had been issued between July 2004 and July 2009," she cited.

In a supplementary question, Mji Mkongwe MP, Ibrahim Muhammad Sanya (CUF) inquired if the government was ready to have provisions for servicemen in acquiring house loans after retirement and that since it wasn't the aim of the government to induce suffering to its people and whether there were plans to increase their pensions by at least 25 per cent after every 2-3 years.

Ms Salum said that there was nothing wrong with retired servicemen securing loans but they had to meet the conditions set by financial institutions.

She also said that according to the laws that govern soldiers, they were not allowed to contribute to pension funds and only received a grant from the government.

The deputy minister added that in order to change that, there was need to amend its law and that falls in the hands of the ministry of defence and national service.

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