Saturday, September 7, 2013

Employers cry foul over NSSF Bill

Labour cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi.  FKE Executive Director  Jacqueline Mugo said the amendment would give absolute powers to the Labour Secretary to appoint the Fund’s managing trustee and all the trustees as well as to remove the representatives of workers and employers from the board. PHOEBE OKALL

Labour cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi. FKE Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo said the amendment would give absolute powers to the Labour Secretary to appoint the Fund’s managing trustee and all the trustees as well as to remove the representatives of workers and employers from the board. PHOEBE OKALL  

By BERNADINE MUTANU
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The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) have accused the government of fraudulently trying to take over operations at NSSF by ejecting their representatives from the board.

The umbrella bodies Saturday jointly accused the government of secretly introducing an amendment to the recently published National Social Security Fund Bill 2013.

“We wish to jointly object to the provision of part III section 6(d) (i)(ii) of the newly published NSSF Bill 2013. The section published is an affront to the employers and workers in Kenya,” said FKE Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo.

Mrs Mugo said the amendment would give absolute powers to the Labour Secretary to appoint the Fund’s managing trustee and all the trustees as well as to remove the representatives of workers and employers from the board.

“The Bill is designed and intended to oust representatives of employers and workers from the NSSF Board of Trustees in preference to any Tom, Dick and Harry the minister wishes to reward with appointment to the board,” she said.

As a result, the two bodies withdrew their support for the Bill that is due to be taken to Parliament. They have now written to the Attorney-General demanding that the Bill be withdrawn and revised, saying they were not consulted when the amendments were made.

The Bill states: “Two persons who shall be appointed by virtue of their knowledge and experience in matters relating to human resource, investments, banking or corporate management, one of whom shall be opposite gender, to represent employers in Kenya.”

This, the FKE and Cotu read as mischief meant to perpetuate cronyism which could introduce interference in the management of NSSF. The Bill also states that two representatives of employees shall be appointed on the basis of their knowledge and experience in matters relating to labour relations, law or business, one each of opposite gender.

FKE and Cotu alleged that the government is dismantling the structure of NSSF board which, over the years, has been tripartite (government, workers and employers) and in line with international standards. “We are curious to know why the government, which is not a contributor to the fund, would have 100 per cent control on the management of the Fund by appointing both the managing trustee and all the fund trustees,” said Mrs Mugo.

“The government must come out clearly if it is trying to turn NSSF into a government entity,” she said.

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