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Workers protest Pension Bill they claim will leave them poor after retirement

By Anyango Otieno | Published Fri, June 15th 2018 at 00:00, Updated June 14th 2018 at 23:31 GMT +3
County workers on strike along Kenyatta Avenue on a bill in Parliament on LAPFUND trust. [Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard]

Employees of county governments are up in arms against a new pension bill they claim will shortchange them.

The workers said they would lose over Sh42 billion if the County Pension Scheme Bill, 2018, was passed into law.

The Bill proposes that the Local Authorities Provident Fund (Lapfund) and Local Authorities Pensions Trust (Laptrust) be abolished and a new scheme established for the workers.

In Nairobi, workers under their umbrella Kenya County Government Workers Union marched in the streets waving placards, blowing vuvuzelas and chanting.

They said Lapfund and Laptrust were owed money by all the 47 county governments since their employers have not been remitting their pension deductions.

The workers complained that the proposed law does not provide a transitional solution on how the debts will be paid.

House allowances

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“As we speak, members are not getting benefits because of this debt. This debt must be cleared before anything else is done,” Nairobi Water branch secretary Matilda Chebet said.

They said the Bill would reduce their contributions to the scheme to 7.5 per cent from 12, thus cutting down their benefits by more than half. This is occasioned by a provision in the Bill that seeks to exclude their house allowances from pension payments.

“The implication of reducing contributions as proposed under the County Governments’ Retirement Scheme Bill, 2018 will in the end reduce members’ salary hence reduce their benefits and this will condemn workers to poverty in retirement,” said Chebet.

Proposed merger

She added that according to their terms of service, the deductions were based on house allowance and basic salary.

They proposed a merger of the two schemes under one corporate administration.

“What we want is a merger of Lapfund and Laptrust,” said Boniface Waweru, the union National Organising Secretary.

The workers petitioned Deputy President William Ruto, Attorney General Paul Kihara, Treasury CS Henry Rotich, National Assembly, and Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi to intervene.

“Article 10 of the Constitution requires inclusion and public participation. Where is our participation as workers?” asked Chebet.

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