9 November 2012

Tanzania: Withdrawal Benefits Still 'Jig-Saw Puzzle'

Dodoma — GOVERNMENT has asked for more time before it presents the Bill to amend the Social Security Regulatory Authority (Amendments) Act number 5 of 2012.

Labour and Employment Minister Ms Gaudentia Kabaka said that there are still a number of issues to discuss before the Act is tabled for amendments in accordance with the resolution of the House reached during the past session of parliament. She said before the Act is tabled, government will engage various stakeholders including MPs, trade unions, employers and employees and create public awareness on the contested 'Withdrawal Benefits'.

Ms Kabaka was responding to a question asked by Busanda MP, Ms Lolensia Bukwimba, who had complained that, the Parastatal Pension Fund (PPF) does not provide for Withdrawal Benefits unlike other pension funds namely the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF) and the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF).

In response, Ms Kabaka elaborated that the Social Security Regulatory Authority (Amendments) Act number 5 that was amended in April this year, scrapped section 44 of the PPF Act which provided for 'Withdrawal Benefits' to workers before the retirement age.

She noted further that the legislation did not amend the NSSF Act since it was not provided for in its legislation much as the fund had been providing the benefit to be able to compete favourably with other schemes. Nevertheless, the Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) issued a notice recently revoking a public notice it issued in August, this year, barring withdrawal benefits from pension schemes, she explained.

"This means that workers who are eligible for withdrawal benefits can now access it in accordance to SSRA guidance," Ms Kabaka said. The resolution to amend the legislation was reached during the previous session of the National Assembly following a motion tabled by Kisarawe MP, Mr Suleiman Jafo. At a seminar organised recently by the SSRA to enlighten lawmakers on the withdrawal benefit, the MPs were divided on whether or not the benefit should be retained.

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