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Retirements Benefits Authority woos the Jua Kali sector

The Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) is eyeing the jua kali sector as it begins to roll out its services to counties, RBA Deputy Director Peter Ngunyi has said.

Ngunyi who was speaking during the launch of RBA service desk at the Nyeri Huduma Centre, said that in addition to bringing services closer to retirees in the counties, they were also looking to tap into the informal sector which constitutes 80 per cent of the labour market.

He further explained that the focus on the jua kali sector will also help demystify the belief that pension services can only benefit those in formal employment.

“We are trying to provide an avenue where through our service providers all those in the informal sector, who are normally referred to as ‘hustlers’, can be covered by a pension plan so that they can have a form of saving which will ensure them of a decent life after retirement,” he explained.

“Anyone earning an income can join an individual pension scheme which is flexible even for self-employed persons. RBA registers all individual pension schemes in Kenya so it is wrong to perceive that it is only meant for the formally employed because a constant fact is that retirement will happen whether one is formally employed or in the informal sector,” he added.

The authority has membership of about 3.5 million beneficiaries countrywide. Ngunyi noted that they were looking to growing their assets base to Sh 2.4 trillion and attain coverage of 30 per cent by 2024.

In addition to the service desk, residents will also benefit from a one-week sensitization clinic, where the officers offer technical assistance on how to use their online portal. They will also answer questions on saving for retirement and handle complaints about pension.

Also at the event, was Nyeri County commissioner, Pius Mburugu and Nyeri Deputy County Commissioner Joseph Mwangi.

Mburugu commended the RBA for bringing their services to Nyeri, saying that the establishment of the desk would save residents the hustle of travelling to Nairobi to access their pension.

Additionally, Mburugu said that in line with the government’s commitment to decentralize most of its services, they would push to have more departments to have desks at the Huduma Centre as a way of improving service delivery.

“In the previous years, government services have been devolved to county and sub-county levels by the government, unlike in the past where people used to go all the way to Nairobi to get access to their retirement benefits or any other government service. We have also witnessed how the government has been in the forefront of the management of the retirees and those heading to old age with its many products like ensuring those aged 70 above are getting monthly stipends,” he said.

By Kiama Wamutitu and Yvette Kimani

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