THE Ministry of Labour and Employment has refuted allegations that it had reduced benefits of pensioners. The allegations were made on Wednesday by the Tanzania Teachers' Union (TTU) and the Tanzania Higher Learning Institutions Trade Union (THTU) alleging that the Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) was violating workers' rights.
Commissioner of Labour at the Ministry, Mr Sauli Kinemela, said in Dar es salaam on Friday that the allegations have misled the public, adding neither SSRA nor government announced anything on reductions of pension benefits.
"What is going on are discussion with various stakeholders in the sector with the intention to improve pension benefits," he said. Mr Kinemela further said that even though there were ongoing discussions and no decision has been made publicly regarding pension reduction.
The Commissioner said that TTU and THTU are social security stakeholders and that gives them the right to meet and discuss various issues in the sector but it is not healthy to mislead the public.
Expounding further he said that, retired and all members of social security fund especially in Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF), LAPF Pensions Fund (LAPF) and teachers should not live in fear as decisions regarding their benefits will be discussed in the open and all stakeholders will be involved.
The SSRA Director General, Ms Irene Isaka, said that members of social security schemes should stop worrying. "The social security funds are firm and what is going on is the fulfillment of the national social security policy of 2003 which aim at improving the sector as various changes have been taking place," said Ms Isaka Ms Isaka added that due to some changes like involving voluntary members and those from private sector some adjustments will be considered as they differ in salary scales but what they have suggested so far was to increase pension benefits.
In a meeting with the press, TTU President, Mr Gratian Mukoba, said so far there were no consensus that took place between the unions and the authority about computing benefits.
He said the authority's recent efforts to strengthen social security services in the country, recommended a reduction in pension lump sum paid by pension funds GEPF and LAPF from 50 per cent to 33.3 per cent, which he said was not accepted by the various parties.