SOCIAL Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) Director General Irene Isaka has said that they expect to have harmonised benefits rights across all social security funds by 2015.
"For now, benefits rights overlap each other across respective social security funds. So we will harmonise that by 2015 where a member will be able to migrate from one fund to another with the same benefits rights and not just contribution," she said, adding: "By that time, the pension factor will be the same across the board.
She said this in Dar es salaam while on tour of headquarters of Tanzania Standard Newspapers, publishers of 'Daily News', 'Sunday News', 'Habarileo' and 'Spotileo'.
She also used the opportunity yesterday to confirm that the comprehensive actuarial valuation of the five social security schemes has been completed in collaboration with the Bank of Tanzania.
"We have met stakeholders, so we await cabinet to give a go ahead so that a new system can be used," she said. She also said they are currently in talks with Bank of Tanzania to ensure that ultimately, interest rates given by social security funds on loans have a maximum ceiling.
She said the other challenges that a new dispensation seeks to do away with, include the different investment policies of the schemes and low level of recruitment of pensioners by the schemes.
Other challenges are non transferability of members, differences in members' contributions, lack of reliable data, differences in benefit calculations, high running costs and the low level of social security awareness among Tanzanians.
Currently, Tanzania has five social security schemes, namely, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Parastatal Pensions Fund (PPF), Local Authorities Pensions Fund (LAPF), Government Employees Provident Fund (GEPF) and the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF).
On her tour of various areas in the TSN production chain, she said her team was impressed with the high quality of the equipment, noting that the media company's products would be used to offset the awareness challenge on social security issues.
"We plan to build a partnership with Tanzania Standatd Newspapers, publishers of 'Daily News', 'Sunday News', 'Habarileo' and 'Spotileo'.We expect to meet your team to immediately start the initiative," she said.
She added: "People don't see pension funds as medium of social security but as banks, so we need to grow that awareness.We will use your papers since they are credible. We also plan to use the sports newspaper in your stable (Spotileo) for awareness on social security targeting the youth who are the biggest audience.
Awareness is very important before we can harmonise benefits rights." Ms Isaka said that as regards lack of public awareness on social security issues, the authority is developing a communication strategy--that would address such a vacuum.
In response, the Acting Managing Editor Mr Gabriel Nderumaki said that like other products in the stable, 'Spotileo' had received a huge following among the audience, noting that a partnership in this respect of targeting the youth would be effective.
Flanked by heads of departmers in TSN, Mr Nderumaki said there was need to explore new areas of cooperation, giving an example of supplements as one of the product through which the two parties can work together.
Noting that TSN media is most reliable, the Acting ME thanked SSRA for their support and cooperation, adding that the two parties have been partners since the later's establishment but that it could grow stronger. "TSN media products offer mileage when it comes to coverage, and we ask that you make us your number one partner," he said.