Imagine working daily for as far as you can remember that day you got your first job at company X. Then when your hair starts turning grey and your memory begins to falter as you get older and forgetful, you decide to retire and enjoy the fruits of your years sweat.
After all, through thick and thin, you have worked so diligently and faithfully at your job. So you walk to Bank Y to claim your pension money. As you sit on a nearby chair in Bank Y, you come to terms with the fact that you actually have no pension. This is the harsh reality that many Rwandans have to face today.
That 3700 companies have been blacklisted by the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR), for failing to disclose where they put employee’s pension money is truly harsh.
After carrying out an audit for only the first quarter of this year, reports from SSFR heavily indict numerous organisations and companies for not passing on the pension savings of their employees.
In Rwanda, the pension law dictates that a total of 6 percent be deducted from the gross salaries of all employees while another 6 percent is paid by the employer per month. This money is channeled through the SSFR and is invested back into the society.
As Rwanda moves towards its ambitious goal of full blown economic development and poverty reduction by the year 2020, there was a need to review certain laws that support public and private pension funds.
As a result reviewing the Decree Law of August 1974 governing social security was of necessity thus, the Chamber of Deputies on September 10th last year, modified this law to sustain the current developmental projects and investment of the country.
SSFR today, is the financial body responsible for running and administering any investments of the state. also known in French as ‘Caisse Sociale du Rwanda’, this public institution has the sole responsibility of regulation and promotion of economic and social investments that are of general interest to the country and public as well.
With much authority comes great responsibility, so SSFR should step up. Among its main responsibilities is collecting and managing contributions as determined by laws.
This includes providing funds to the beneficiaries, carrying out investments through sensitising people on sustainable social security as they seek and venture new ways of extending their development.
However, with all this in place, there are employees who do not get to benefit from their due pension after years of working and saving.
While 3,700 companies have no record of pension money, even those who are lucky will get pension after a long wait and the retirement package comes with no interest whatsoever.
For anyone to acquire pension that is exactly equivalent to the amount of money they have contributed for years is completely unrealistic, let alone unfair. Especially if their money is used in the development of million dollar projects countrywide.
Just this week on Wednesday, members of parliament were engaged in a hot argument about SSFR’s unfair no interest payment of pensioners after diligently saving for years.
This calls for attention to the irregularities and loopholes in the social security system. The question is, where do the profits from the pension savings and investments go?
The answer given by authorities responsible is that it used to pay off the salaries of SSFR employees and to run its operations that include multi-million dollar real housing estates and money making financial institutions.
With these facts on ground, it is only realistic that interest be included in the retirement packages of all deserving employees. This however will be possible if all the loopholes and missing links in the system are covered.
After all its only fair for both the employee and the development of the country. Let people enjoy their pension and when it does, it should come with interest.