11 August 2017

Rwanda: Pensioners Cry Foul Over Delayed Review of Retirement Packages

Promises by the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) to increase pension benefits for retirees remain unfulfilled, Rwanda Pensioners' Association (ARR) has said.

The association's executive committee held a meeting in Kigali on Tuesday, with the concern about pension benefits high on agenda, according to Modest Munyuzangabo, the president of the association.

"The Rwanda Social Security Board has lied to us. Our members are really unhappy about this situation. Right now we are meeting and this pension issue is high on agenda," Munyuzangabo said.

According to Pierre Celestin Ntabaringanira, the treasurer of the pensioners' association, RSSB had promised that review of their benefits would be done by July this year.

"We were told that a minimum pension increase would be set at 230 per cent for the lowest-earners. The people we represent now think that they are just being lied to. It is sad. The last pension increase was done in 2002, yet the law says that pension should be reviewed every five years.

Ntabaringanira, who retired in 2009, says he receives a little more than Rwf23, 000 every month which is insufficient considering current cost of living.

Article 16 of the 2015 Law governing the organization of pension schemes, the public entity in charge of pension is obliged to carry out an actuarial study for pension scheme at least once every five years.

The law states that where the actuarial study shows a possible negative impact on economy, the amount of contributions shall be increased according to the provisions of Article 8 (contribution rate) of the Law.

"Basing on the findings of the actuarial study provided under the preceding paragraph, pension benefits may also be increased," reads part of Article 16.

What RSSB says

Last November, Jonathan Gatera, the Director General of RSSB, told this paper that the pension body was looking for a consultant to carry out an actuarial assessment study with regards to the state of the pension scheme and guide consideration of pension increments. The study, he said, was to be carried out in January 2017.

Moses Kazoora, the RSSB Director of Public Relations, Communications and Education Unit, said: "On the pension increase, the actuarial evaluation started late June due to procurement process which took longer than expected and the final report will be availed three months from the start of the assessment."

The pensioners' association has also previously claimed that those who retired before 2003 are not being catered for by RSSB's medical insurance scheme (formerly RAMA) for health cover yet while they were still in service they contributed money for medical care.

According to the association, retirees suffer from diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure that are not covered by Mutuelle de Santé.

Regarding medical cover for pensioners, Kazoora said: "The medical scheme covers only willing pensioners who are entitled to monthly benefits and had previously contributed to the scheme during their active career."

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