SOCIAL Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) has called upon social security funds in Tanzania to come up with products like housing loan schemes before members retire in order to attract more people to join the funds and at the same time improve the standard of living.
The challenge was thrown here yesterday by the Director of SSRA, Irene Isaka, in an interview with 'Daily News' soon after the opening session of an editors' workshop held at Tanga Beach Resort Hotel. She said one of the big challenges that have been facing the industry was that many people see social funds just as tax collection bodies or consider the contributions made to the various funds a bother.
Others feel they will not live long enough to benefit from the retirement package. "But if the social funds introduced schemes of providing loans to members before they retire, then many people would be more willing to join ,"she added.
She however said apart from such innovation, the important thing was education, and SSRA is working hard to educate the public on the importance of joining and contributing to social funds.
"Many people lack adequate awareness on social funds. We are educating people through various means including seminars and brochures," she said. Responding to the question as to what SSRA was doing to help members who complain that their contributions are not handed over to the social funds by their respective employers despite reductions every month, Irene said that according to social funds regulations, social funds now have power to access any employer who is not presenting workers' contributions.
She also said that the Authority also has been making a followup to check if the social funds were operated according to the present law and regulations governing social funds in the country and it has a mandate to punish any social fund that seemed to violate the regulations, though, so far no one seemed to commit a serious offence against the law or regulations.
Explaining about the SSRA programme on education, Sarah Kibonde Msika, head of Public Relations and Promotions, said that now they were projecting to disseminate education to different groups of people from all sectors in order to widen the understanding of the social funds to the community.
She further said, they have started with editors, but later would do the same to journalists on a zonal basis and the programme would reach other sectors like mining and business.