Close to 40 percent of Rwanda’s business owners do not pay monthly contributions to Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), formerly Social Security Fund of Rwanda, for their employees’ pension as required by the law.
Senior citizens consequently find their accounts empty upon retirement, as revealed by Oswald Munyandekwe, the Director of Pensions at RSSB.
“In Rwanda, only 64 percent of all business owners pay remittances to this fund, partly out of ignorance, or mere defiance. Most of them are SMEs but there are other companies with many employees,” Munyandekwe said.
He added that procedurally, employers are supposed to register with RSSB within their first eight days of operation.
All their workers should also be registered and affiliation numbers secured on their behalf. The numbers serve as bank accounts at RSSB.
The employer deducts three percent of the worker’s monthly salaries and tops it up with five percent of the salary and the eight percent total, to be deposited at RSSB.
Businesses present the RSSB contribution quarterly, and an employee retains the affiliation number for use even after changing their work place.
Munyandekwe also noted that some business owners partly comply by subtracting the three percent employee’s contribution but hold on to their additional five percent. In such cases, they are unable to save the money with RSSB, which keeps their employees’ accounts empty.
Communication companies and tea or coffee factories are other major defaulters, according to the official, as they fail to register all their employees due to their large numbers.
RSSB however has introduced a tracking system that identifies defaulters and takes appropriate action; including slapping them with fines amounting to three percent on every month not paid for and auctioning their property if the problem persists.
Telecommunication company Rwandatel, and several hotels in Muhanga District are some of the defaulters penalised through a similar procedure, according to Munyandekwe.
Unregistered businesses are also followed up with the assistance of inspectors of labour, employed in every district.
Beline Karambo, a small-scale juice producer suggests that RSSB should give a grace period to let new businesses become established before demanding for remittances.
“Sometimes it seems very unfair to demand for money from someone who is not yet even six months into a business. Besides the pension remittances, there are taxes to be paid,” she said.
Dieudonne Nteziyaremye, who heads the national motorcyclists’ federation, FERWACOTAMO, is in the process of registering all 10,000 of their members.
“We started registering members slowly by slowly following a Caisse Sociale (now RBSS) directive. Most of them are registered and we hope to complete the task soon.”
Munyandekwe urges registered workers to confirm whether their contributions are being made, by their employers by regularly checking on their RSSB account.