The Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has asked MPs to allocate funds for the acquisition of a pension management system to address systemic inefficiencies bedeviling the pensions department.
Citing repeated cases of pensioners’ files mysteriously disappearing and lack of sufficient personnel to handle thousands of files, Muturi told the House to allocate funds to procure a pension management system that will aid in processing of pension.
“Very soon we will be dealing with Budget Estimates. Parliament should now rise to the occasion.
If it is the pension management system that is required, let Parliament during this coming Budget take this as a matter of priority, allocate funds and insist that within a definite period, the system should be in place,” Muturi said.
He said the money should be allocated to the Pensions Department in the 2021/2022 Budget.
“You are the House that deals with budgets. Surely, it cannot be that Members of Parliament day in, day out go to these offices to follow pensions for their constituents,” he added.
The Speaker was reacting to a petition by Busia Women Representative Florence Mutua in which she wants the National Assembly through the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning to investigate delayed processing of pension payments.
The delays, she said, was a constant source of stress and depression for many pensioners who are compelled to spend their dwindling finances travelling between Nairobi and their home counties.
Mutua said some of pensioners have to borrow fair to visit the city because they no longer have a monthly income.
“Regrettably, some pensioners end up dying before receiving their pensions for which they toiled for years.
This leaves their next of kin in squalor and at the mercy of unscrupulous pension officers who contest their kinship status and delay the pension payments even further,” the petition reads in part.
Besides, Mutua wants the committee chaired by Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga to seek detailed outline of measures being implemented by relevant authorities in dealing with perpetual delays in processing pensioners’ dues.
“Recommends the urgent devolving of pension services to counties and initiates this devolution of pension services through legislation and makes any other recommendation that it deems fit in the circumstances of the Petition,” the petition says.
The Auditor-General’s reports on the Pensions Department has repeatedly recommended the urgent reorganisation of the department in view of the inefficiencies, bottlenecks and bureaucracies that cause inconveniences to pensioners and their families.
Muturi backed calls by lawmakers to devolve pension services to counties saying that it is the only practical approach to streamline the management of pensions and safeguard the welfare of pensioners.
“This House, for the longest time, has debated this issue of delayed pension payments.
It is high time this House took a definitive decision. If it is an issue of procuring a pension management system, it should happen immediately,” he said.
Kathiani MP Robert Mbui noted that accessing one’s pension after retirement is huge problem in the country.
“Almost every week in the newspapers, you will see a certain group of people complaining about non-payment of their pension,” Mbui said.
Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo said it was unfair for one to toil all their life knowing that they have a pension somewhere, but end up languishing and dying in abject poverty after retirement.