SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM CALLS FOR OVERHAULING

Friday October 22 2021
By The Citizen Reporter

If the report of the Government Controller and Auditor General (CAG) for the 2019/20 financial year is anything to go by, then the Public Service Social Security Fund (PSSSF) is in serious managerial trouble.

PSSSF was established on Mainland Tanzania to collect contributions and pay terminal benefits to its members. These are public service employees as specified in the 2018 Public Service Social Security Act which established PSSSF that, for all practical purposes, “swallowed up” former social security schemes.

This was done in the hope of seamlessly streamlining the social security system into one that is truly functional and efficient by replacing the former system which was dominated by multiple, inefficient schemes that included GEPF, PPF, LAPF and PSPF.

Alas, that has not worked as expected. As the CAG’s 2019/20 report says, the new system – in the form of PSSSF – is already heavily burdened by management issues, compounded by unrepaid trillions in debts.

Some of these have resulted from inordinately huge loans given to borrowers like the government, which spent the funds on infrastructure development like the University of Dodoma.

All the foregoing makes PSSSF unable to meet its obligations of prudently investing its members’ contributions in reliably productive areas, as well as paying its members their retirement benefits in full and as due, or at all, in some cases, according to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

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What is most consternating, though, is that the very government itself can borrow money which virtually belongs to its own citizens as PSSSF-contributing members – and is then unable, unwilling or not ready to repay the loans, Sh4.6 trillion of which remains unpaid.

Indeed, such shortcomings render our social security system a cruel joke: taking money from its hapless members and virtually giving it to the government and uncreditworthy borrowers. The system needs drastic overhauling, we say.



REIN IN RECKLESS GOVT DRIVERS

The apparent inaction against reckless government drivers has now gone beyond baffling to worrying, considering that their flagrant disregard for road safety rules is increasingly becoming the cause of misery for many, but it seems nothing much is being done to end this.

One wonders, for example, why government drivers are not stopped and booked for speeding and dangerous overtaking on the highways. There are several cases of traffic police officers said to be angrily telling off private motorists who ask such questions, threatening them with all kinds of action for asking why they are booked for offences that government drivers get away with.

So, government drivers are allowed to break the law, endanger other road users and cause unnecessary deaths because they work for the State? They recklessly overtake and speed – and when they are caught it is the same old story.

Just recently, five Tanzania Revenue Authority employees died when their speeding vehicle crashed into a lorry in Songwe Region. It was the latest in a string of fatal accidents involving government vehicles in recent years. How many more such accidents must occur before the authorities start to act earnestly to curb this worrisome trend? Something needs to be done.