Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB)'s reported increase in the number of new employees registering for pension scheme is a sign that more jobs are being created every year in the country and a culture of saving for retirement taking root.
At the announcement of RSSB's performance in the completed fiscal year 2018-2019, the fund's officials said that 133,026 new employees had registered for the body's pension scheme during the year, essentially contributing money towards their retirement.
The figure is compared to 109,287 new employees who had been registered for pension in the previous fiscal year 2017-2018 and 103,444 registered in year 2016-2017.
The Contributions Division Manager at RSSB, Joseph Nduwamungu, told The New Times that factors behind the steady increase in new employees registering for pension include more jobs being created in the country and improved awareness about saving for retirement.
"When jobs are created, new employees are registered under RSSB schemes. The second factor for the increase is awareness among employers and employees of the benefits of saving for old age, workplace hazards and maternity leave. The third factor is awareness campaigns that are carried out regularly," he said in an interview on Thursday.
RSSB currently manages five schemes that include pensions, occupational hazards, community-based health insurance (CBHI), maternity leave benefits, and Ejo Heza long term savings scheme.
Nduwamungu emphasised that of all the factors behind the steady increase in the number of new contributors towards their pension scheme is the new jobs being created, explaining that "factors are many but the main one is job creation".
"The increase in pension scheme registration is certainly a consequence of job creation. The two go together," he said.
Through different initiatives, the Rwandan government has targeted to create 1.5 million decent and productive jobs by 2024 or an average of 214,000 jobs annually.
The plan has been laid out in the government's first National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), which is a seven-year programme since 2017.
Nduwamungu said that as new jobs get created every year, there is hope that those who remember to save for their retirement will also increase.
"We are quite confident that this pace will be maintained easily as new employers are coming in different sectors of activity. We have also eased the process of registering new employees, where the employer does not have to come physically at RSSB, but rather uses the employee ID number to register him or her online using RSSB website," he said.
The official explained that it used to be a burden for employers to register new employees, but now the only thing to do for them is to use the employee's national identity card number (ID number) and once put in the RSSB system, the employee's full identification is displayed.
"When the employer approves the identification as correct, in one click the employer gets an RSSB identifier to use all his or her lifetime. As simple as that," he said.
RSSB's Director General, Richard Tusabe, announced this week that the fund's investment portfolio had reached Rwf1 trillion after a good performance registered by the body in the last fiscal year 2018-2019.
In order to remain profitable and meet its obligations towards its contributors over the long term, the fund invests in different areas such as buying shares in profitable companies, making profitable deposits in commercial banks, and building real estate for both sale and rent.