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Only 26pc of Kenyans in employment save for retirement

Kenyans in the labour force have been urged to join pension schemes and start their contributions, which would enable them to have a stable future once they exit their employments.

According to the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA), only 26 per cent of people in the labour market were saving for retirement, meaning that in every 10 Kenyans in the labour service, 7 were likely to live in poverty after retirement because the appreciation of saving for retirement is not well embraced.

Speaking during a RBA service week at Garissa Huduma Centre on Wednesday, RBA’s Chief Executive Officer Charles Machira said that there was a need for concerted efforts by all government and non-state agencies to sensitise the people on setting aside resources from their current earnings and saving for the future when they retire.

At the same time, Machira also urged the young people in the informal sector, which has the highest population of the labour force in the country, to ensure that they joined pension schemes.

“We have assets beyond Sh1.7 trillion, but the people who own these assets are too few because they are the people who are either in the Civil Service or the formal sector,” Machira said.

“There is a huge population of our people; 85 per cent of our labour force, as we know, is in the informal sector, and we must have concerted efforts to bring these people into the space of saving for their pension,” he added.

The CEO further sent a warning to all employers who were deducting pensions from their employees’ pay slips but failed to remit them to their respective pension schemes that they would face legal consequences, noting that employees’ savings must be safeguarded.

Machira noted that collective remedial action is already in progress to ensure that the perpetrators of any illegalities are properly punished within the context of the law to ensure members’ benefits are secure.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that there is hygiene in the retirement benefits in Kenya, that the pension funds are properly managed, that there is optimal investment earning, and that when members retire, they go home with commensurable benefits for the services they rendered during their work lives,” he said.

“Any member of the pension fund who has worked, retired, or exited from service early must be paid their due benefits at the expected time of 30 days,” he added.

Huduma Kenya Acting CEO Mugambi Njeru, on his part, said that the Huduma Centres, which bring services closer to the people, would be partnering more with agencies like RBA and others to ensure easy access through the Huduma Mashinani initiative.

Hassan Noor, a retiree from the Youth Enterprise Fund, urged those employed to start preparing their pension documents early so that by the time they exit service, everything is ready for them to start receiving their pension fund.

Noor said that it was difficult for a retiree to start the process after exiting service because it required a lot of money to travel, which would likely lead to a delay in the disbursement of their retirement dues.

Present during the event were Garissa Township Deputy County Commissioner John Marete, Garissa Huduma Centre Manager Mohamed Abdullahi, and officials from the County Pension Fund (CPF), among others.

By Erick Kyalo

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