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COTU, NSSF agree on a roadmap to iron out controversial issues 

COTU  Deputy  Secretary  General, Benson  Okwaro (right) in the company of NSSF Chairman, Gideon  Ndambuki (centre) and the PS for Labour, Dr. Khadijah Kassachoon  when  they addressed the media after a two day retreat at a Mombasa hotel on Tuesday September  6, 2016.
Photo  by  Hussein Abdullahi/KNA.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) have agreed on a roadmap for the implementation of the controversial new NSSF Act.

COTU Deputy Secretary General (SG), Benson Okwaro and NSSF  Trustee Chairman, Gideon Ndambuki emerged from a two day retreat in Mombasa on Tuesday and announced that they have a deal to thrush out all contentious issues surrounding the implementation of the NSSF Act.

NSSF and COTU board members held a two day meeting at Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa, also attended by Labour Principal Secretary, Dr. Khadijah Kassachoon.

The new Act upgraded NSSF from a provident fund to a pension scheme where all workers will pay at least 12 per cent of their gross salaries, which will be equally split between the worker and the employer.

The NSSF Act also raised the monthly contribution by NSSF members by up to 50 times more from the flat rate of Sh. 200.

Okwaro said COTU, the umbrella workers body representing over 1.5 million members want their four board seats in the Shs. 130 billion fund reinstated.

He said among the issues that will be discussed in the roadmap is the revision of the Act to allow the membership of COTU and Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) in the board of NSSF to enable them perform their watchdog role in the fund.

He said the Act gave the government unparalleled powers to appoint NSSF chief executive officer and the entire board of trustees locking out COTU and FKE, which sparked off a bitter row that ended up in the courts.

The deputy SG said COTU’s actions were motivated by the desire to see NSSF prudently invest its members’ savings in secure and high yielding investments in a manner that embraces transparency and accountability.

Ndambuki, who jointly addressed the press with Okwaro said he was very happy with the roadmap that will allow them to engage in negotiations with COTU and eventually see the withdrawal of a case filed by COTU in the courts that had prevented the smooth implementation of the NSSF Act.

Dr. Kassachoon hailed COTU and NSSF boards for agreeing to meet and resolve to unlock the long standing stalemate that has had adverse effects on the smooth implementation new NSSF Act, and called on Kenyans to embrace the culture of saving.

“Kenyans need to cultivate the culture of saving their earnings so as to be safe in old age or in the unfortunate event of losing gainful employment,” she said.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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