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Gov’t urged to make retirement scheme mandatory

The Association of Pension Trustee and Administrators of Kenya (APTAK) wants the government to make pension schemes mandatory for all Kenyans to encourage the culture of saving.

Section of the delegates in attendance follow proceedings during the 1st annual international Association of Pension Trustees and Administrators of Kenya (APTAK) conference held at the Prideinn Paradise hotel, Mombasa. Photos by Andrew Hinga

Speaking during the 1st annual International APTAK conference on Wednesday, President of the Association Hosea Kili said that many Kenyans face poverty upon retirement as they fall short of adequate savings.

Kili said the social security fund should be made a mandatory requirement by urging Kenyans to save just as the government did with the medical sector on the National Health Insurance Fund.

“We are currently pushing the government to do for the pension sector what happened in the health sector where saving for universal health is mandatory. If all Kenyans were covered in pension arrangements, at least a portion could have been withdrawn by some members to cushion them during the time of Covid-19. The Number of registered pension beneficiaries is not promising because of the voluntary nature of the system. Only 20 per cent of the employed citizens save, the rest who are unemployed are nowhere to be seen,” said Kili.

He said there are at least 1,400 pension schemes in the country and added all these are voluntary thus encouraging members of the public to join them for the betterment of their future when they retire.

“We expect to have universal social security coverage, but for now we are encouraging people to save more money on the pension scheme and not only investment but the membership will go up to 25 per cent, but if the government intervenes, it will be 100 per cent,” he said.

Kili noted that during the pandemic, the pressure was so high that a big number of the small schemes were heavily affected when some companies laid off staff and members came for their money.

“This has actually given us a lesson that in future we may need to have another saving arrangement which is tailor made and not for retirement but for managing crises,” added Kili.

Kili said the association will also ask other schemes to come up with insurance for covering the crisis, a discussion that will be posed during the conference.

Issues of importance to be discussed during the conference include; the impact of Covid-19 on the resources and assets of the pension scheme, some employers ceased employment and stopped contribution, many people lost employment and claimed their pension benefits.

The reaction to the changes where members were working from home and how members were taken care of, intervention of digital technology to provide services to members, among others.

By Chari Suche

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