IT has enhanced effective record keeping and efficient handling of information and communication within Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR).
IT systems form a key plank of the ongoing modernisation process SSFR or Caisse Sociale du Rwanda (SSFR). How well they work impacts on the functionality and efficiency levels of the different administrative and service delivery functions within the fund.
On one hand therefore, ICT presents opportunities that create greater consistency in response to social security administration issues.
A modern social security system with the aim of providing a better service can not properly function without computer systems. ICT is a tool that provides us with effective record keeping and efficient handling of information and communication within our organisation. SSFR has complemented the decentralisation process initiated by the government by opening SSFR branches countrywide. Although the fund has brought its services closer to customers, the data processing is done in Kigali.
Without ICT, it would be extremely difficult to provide a good service in that context. That’s why SSFR has invested considerable resources in deployment of ICT infrastructure throughout its network. Already in place is a wide area network that connects 27 districts in Rwanda. The ICT department headed by Claude Hakizinana has used available technologies from Rwanda’s telecommunication service providers such as frame relay, data service over CDMA network, fiber technology and VSAT technologies.
SSFR now has a good Information Technology Infrastructure that assures a high standard of service delivery. To meet the diverse operational
needs of the organisation SSFR has put in place many operational Software applications that are used to speed up its information processing time such as. Examples include: Accounting application is a core financial management system that serves to capture financial information, to process the financial data
and to produce different financial reports
Business intelligence application provides statistics relating to the principal activity of SSFR and concerning the employers, the
employees, the contributions of employees and the remunerations of pensioners. It provides also statistics about pensioners, the members
of their families as well as statistics of professional risk cases.
The payroll and human resource management system supports the preparation of payment of SSFR personnel as well as managing the
movement of personnel. The system keeps track of the careers of the personnel.
Fixed assets management application manages all SSFR fixed assets and their depreciations.
Purchasing application supports the acquisition of assets, keeps track of the assets movements. The inventory and the follow up of stocks are supported by this application.
Budgeting application is used to prepare the budget. It has functions for budget estimates, actualisation of the budget, preparation of activities and monitoring the execution of the activities.
Registration application has the aim of ensuring the Identification and the registration of the employers, employees and their members of families. It manages the individual accounts of the employees and it produces different reports relating to employers, employees, contributions and payments. This system constitutes the base of the social security system because it allows the auditing, the collection, the preparation
and the management of information for the social security.
Treasury management application manages all the debits on SSFR accounts as well as the management of the SSFR revenues. The programme supports different money transactions which are done by SSFR.
Pension payment system manages the files of retired people since the demand of pension is introduced in SSFR until it is closed.
This application deals with the payment of the pensioners after the pension.
The application has been used for calculation of amount of money that should be paid to the pensioner or to a beneficiary who has the right
to the contributions of an insured person who is no longer alive.
Occupational risk application manages the cases of people that have become casualties due to the type of the work they were doing or due to a normal accident at the work. The application supports the management of
these cases from the day of their declaration until there are closed.
The technology that is used by SSFR has facilitated the introduction of electronic formats like the Access Form to speed up the process of declaration of contributions by employers which in turn minimises delays and penalties. Modifications that need to be made on various applications concerning the core business of SSFR are controlled at the headquarters and immediately updated to all branches to avoid unnecessary movement of beneficiaries to the headquarters to check on the status of their claims.
Beneficiaries can take advantage of the SSFR system to make changes according to their status in society for example if they change marital status and have children that have to be reflected in their accounts.
The system therefore accommodates the need to make changes if the right procedures have been followed. Beneficiaries have a chance to get a
Social Security card that is derived from their information in the SSFR system
at no charge.
This will keep the beneficiary up-to-date with their Social security number that is very important at a future period.
Internal control systems are facilitated by ICT within the institution to detect fraud or any human errors that may occur. This will ensure that the integrity and security of information is a high priority to the organisation, says Henry K. Gaperi, SSFR Chief Eexecutive Officer.
Plans for the future include integration of the Internet with the administrative procedures by providing both internal communication support to ease workflow within the organization and providing on-line services that enable the funds clients to gain access to SSFR services quicker and easily.
"E-document is an example of the internal communication support that is being implemented within SSFR to quicken workflow and movement of documents from one place to another, "said Hakizimana.
This is in line with the government strategy on E-management to smoothen the flow
A list of possible Internet services will be added to the SSFR website to emphasise the services arising from the institution’s statutory obligations which also support the relevant administrative process.
These services include:
Electronic Processing will enable both individuals and managers of business to gain access to their individual and company records for future reference. Individuals will be able to keep track of their contributions while manager will ensure that all their employees have been accounted for. This may also enable them to check for possible arrears that may occur from delayed payments.
Access to forms will make it easy for clients to plan their activities relating to SSFR in time. These forms include; affiliation of new employers and employees forms claiming for pension forms. Declaration of contributions forms.
request for professional risk forms. These forms will be supplemented with guides on how they will be filled.
A Forum for sharing information will be introduced in form of on-line questionnaires which can help SSFR to conduct surveys on how to improve the quality of services that are being provided and identify possible problem areas that need to be solved.
SSFR together with other stakeholders such as the ministry of local government, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Rwanda, Medical Insurance (RAMA) and financial institutions are in the process of integrating their services in order to provide Rwandans with identity cards that can access all the services that are provided by the institutions mentioned already.
SSFR is also exploring ways of introducing a paperless environment whereby claims will be made and processed electronically. Internal operations will be managed efficiently and with time financial costs will reduce, thus shifting the focus to time management. Having an electronic archive is a very important in achieving this long-term plan.
In addition to this the possibility of on-line declaration is another capability that SSFR would like to achieve in future. With such innovations in place SSFR will be able to surmount many obstacles within the region such as geographical setup and communication in order to lead the way in ICT development in the region at large.
Kayonga Ruti is the publicist SSFR