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Ex-Railways staff suffer pension payment delay

By Macharia Kamau | Published Thu, January 11th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 10th 2018 at 19:27 GMT +3
Kenya Railways Corporation workers protest over unpaid salary arrears in August last year at the firm's headquarters in Nairobi. The company has more than 9,000 pensioners on its books. [David Gichuru, Standard]

Retired Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) workers yesterday protested the non-payment of their pension.

The pensioners said the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme (KRSRBS) had not made the payments for four months now.

They marched to the pension scheme offices in Nairobi where they delivered a petition demanding payment of their dues. They also delivered copies of the petition to other Government offices including National Treasury, the State Law Office and the National Assembly.

“We are protesting because we have not been paid our pension for four months. Many of the pensioners are old and rely on this pay to meet their basic needs, including paying medical bills,” said one of the pensioners who was part of the group that delivered the petition to KRSRBS offices.

Experiencing challenges

“This is despite the scheme having more than enough assets that generate money to cover the monthly pension payments.”

The scheme is supposed to pay Sh70 million per month to its more than 9,000 pensioners.

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The benefit scheme is closed to new members and does not receive contributions but depends on the sale of its properties (currently valued at Sh30 billion) and rent collections.

Other than the prompt payment of their dues, the retirees also want the scheme’s managers kicked out of office, saying they have been siphoning money running into hundreds of millions of shillings.

The managers acknowledged the non-payment of pension but clarified that the arrears were for three months, not four as claimed.

Chief Executive Simon Nyakundi said the scheme was experiencing challenges in growing rental income due to many of the buildings being old and, therefore, unattractive to potential tenants.

He also said they were not able to dispose of land fast enough to keep up with the monthly pension payments due to factors such as court battles over some of the assets and last year’s prolonged electioneering period.

“Most of the property is on open land and dilapidated buildings that do not generate sufficient income to cover the pension payments,” he said.

“Court injunctions barring the sale of assets and a reduced uptake of property during the electioneering period are the two main reasons for the irregular payment.”

Mr Nyakundi said there were plans to pay the retirees their dues in the next two weeks.

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