By Amos Njau
Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) has extended services to informal sector to gain national wide coverage, already there are 1,248 registered schemes with 3 million members in the Country.
RBA and County governments are working in collaboration to formulate structures that will entice Kenyans to save for their retirements such as tax exemption, tax-free investment income, and tax-free pension at age 65 and above.
Speaking in a media Workshop, RBA CEO Mr. Nzomo Mutuku said that the authority is planning to expand coverage through targeted awareness programmes and products designed to reach out to segmented groups while also pursuing automatic enrolment.
Mr. Nzomo said that they have rolled out the programme in Kisumu, Homabay, Makueni, Kitui, Machakos, and Kisii.
He said they have already achieved 20% national coverage, noting about 80% of Kenyan may die poor or face challenges after retirement. According to RBA Strategic Plan 2014-2019, they had targeted to increase the coverage.
“We are reaching out to the self-employed to join individual pension plans. We are not only targeting Jua Kali sector workers, but also professionals such as lawyers, doctors, and engineers, who given the nature of the work could miss an opportunity to save for their retirement, “he said adding that they are encouraging employers to set up retirement benefits schemes for their employees which will translate more Kenyans will save for their retirement.
He adds that in the last quarter, the Authority received only 77 complains from Kenyans resulting from delay payments and remittances of the deductions and they solved within 20 days encouraging Kenyans to save without fear as structures enhanced in the constitution is carefully followed and adhered to.
Mr. Nzomo said that RBA has working formulae with the other domestic financial sector regulators (Capital Markets Authority, Central Bank of Kenya, Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority and Insurance Regulatory Authority) and assistance from Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to infuse pension and other financial information to the primary school curriculum.
He has urged Kenyans to invest for their old age without necessary depending for their children noting that RBA has now been granted powers to closely guard scheme funds, adding the amendment creates a new section dealing with penalties payable for late submission of investment returns and contribution returns by the fund manager and administrator respectively.