MPs take SSFR to task over pensions

Want pensioners to benefit from the investments As the government plans to merge the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR) and the Rwanda Medical Insurance RAMA, lawmakers yesterday expressed dismay over SSFR’s trading of pensioners’ contributions saying the dividends were not trickling down to its members.
Finance Minister James Musoni (R) chatting with MPs and SSFR Director General Henry Gaperi (L) at perliament yesterday. (Photo GBarya).
Finance Minister James Musoni (R) chatting with MPs and SSFR Director General Henry Gaperi (L) at perliament yesterday. (Photo GBarya).

Want pensioners to benefit from the investments

As the government plans to merge the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR) and the Rwanda Medical Insurance RAMA, lawmakers yesterday expressed dismay over SSFR’s trading of pensioners’ contributions saying the dividends were not trickling down to its members.

SSFR runs an ambitious investment arm which has seen the fund acquire ownership in different financial institutions, real estate, and owns big chunks of land in Kigali.

“People contribute their money for quite some time when they are in service and upon retirement, they are only given the amount they contributed yet their money had been traded for greater interests and profits,” MP Henriette Sebera (PL) said.

Sebera questioned why the profits accrued from the investments do not trickle down to the fund members as an extra portion coming on top of the their routine retirement packages.

The bill to merge SSFR and RAMA was tabled by the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on social welfare, Specioze Mukandutiye (RPF) in the presence of Finance Minister James Musoni.

The bill to merge SSFR and RAMA was tabled by the chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on social welfare, Specioze Mukandutiye (RPF) in the presence of Finance Minister James Musoni.

Under the prevailing pension law, an employee is charged 6 percent of his/her gross monthly salary as pension while the employer makes another 6 percent contribution.

Sebera’s remarks triggered a heated debate in the house prompting long serving lawmaker Juvenal Nkusi (PSD) and newcomer François Byabarumwanzi (PL) to back up her query.

To calm down lawmakers, Mukandutiye said that she had tabled similar queries before SSFR but was told that the profits made from investing contributors’ money are used in paying salaries for SSFR employees and run its operations. But before she could finish her explanation, MPS interrupted with murmurs and some raised their voices in disagreement.

Speaker, Rose Mukantabana was prompted to intervene calling for order in the house before Finance Minister James Musoni took the floor. 

Musoni argued that the funds resources could not be left idle as in the long-run, they could lose value.

Tacticfully side-stepping the original query of the MPs, Musoni provided an explanation on how SSFR money is used and dwelled on the importance of the fund’s investments in different sectors of the economy.

SSFR has emerged as one of the largest investors in the country and last year, the pension body bought shares from Safaricom, a Kenya-based telecommunication company. They have currently embarked on the development of the Kigali Central Business District.

SSFR chief Henry Gaperi was present in the House but made no contributions.

Ends

 

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