President Ruto pushes for review of NSSF contribution

President William Ruto addresses a congregation during Interdenominational thanksgiving prayers at State House in Nairobi on September 25, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

President William Ruto has said that the government will review the monthly contribution to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Ruto said he intends on adjusting employee payments from the current Sh200 per month payment so that it matches with how much one earns as opposed to a standard fee.

He said the government will ensure that one pays according to how much one earns so that there is a better savings plan.

The President was speaking during a thanksgiving service held at the State House gardens in Nairobi.

He said he inherited an ailing economy and it was time for the country to act smart so that there is a better saving plan that will enable it to go slow on international lending.

“We cannot continue to borrow from the savings of others. We need to build our country with our own savings. Let us borrow from our own savings so that we can give interest to our own lenders,’’ he said.

Currently, the county stands on a debt of Sh8.4 trillion after Parliament pushed up the debt ceiling to Sh10 trillion.

“We need to leave an inheritance to our children, not debt and encourage a savings culture. That is the only way we can stop being slaves of our lenders. We should aim to start lending to others,’’ he said.

Last week, however, the government received a blow after the High Court stopped the bid to increase the monthly contributions.

The court ruled that the new requirement was not subjected to public participation in breach of the Constitution, which demands community input before major decisions are taken.

Through the NSSF Act 2013, the government had sought to raise monthly contributions by employees from the current Sh200 monthly and demanded employers match the payout to counter what the President has envisioned.

“An order is issued prohibiting the government from compelling or requiring mandatory registration, enrolment or listing of any employer or employee whether registered as a member or any retirement benefits scheme or not ….to register, enroll or list and contribute their earnings or any party,” the judges said in their ruling.

The ruling added, “Since the NSSF Act 2013 was not presented to the Senate for enactment as a Money Bill, the Act is declared unconstitutional, null, and void.”

But according to President Ruto, the government is going to follow the rule of law and follow the court ruling so that the right procedure is used before its implementation.

“We will work closely with Parliament so that we can provide the framework that Kenya will be safe in and so that we can leave an inheritance to our children. Remember we are doing this because saving is a must,’’ he said.

Ruto argued that people will higher salaries cannot save in equal measure as the ones with lower incomes.

“Do you know that everybody who works in Kenya only contributes Sh200 per month as savings even the ones who earn much more? We are re-engineering that so that all Kenyans have enough savings for their future,” he said.

He noted his government will also save for the Kenyans that are yet to be employed.

“For the ones who are not yet employed, the government will save for them. If any Kenyan saves an amount then the government will give them money equivalent to a percentage of their savings, which will go to their savings kitty,’’ he said.

He also took the opportunity to ask the clergy to pray for the economy, noting it was in bad shape.

Last week, during his maiden speech at the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York, the President, took the opportunity to seek mercy from the financial institutions for countries that were hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing drought.

“On behalf of Kenya, I join other leaders in calling upon the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral lenders to extend pandemic-related debt relief to the worst-hit countries, especially those affected by the devastating combination of conflict, climate change and Covid-19,” he said.