Anthony Munyiri: NSSF board chairman on redeeming the pension fund's imageFriday March 24 2023
Anthony Munyiri has over 28 years of experience in the securities and investment industry having started his career at Equity Stock Brokers Limited in 1994.
He was appointed the chair of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) board of Trustees by President William Ruto in December 2022, replacing Julius Karangi.
For the next three years, he will be at the helm of the entity tasked with providing social security protection to workers in the formal and informal sectors.
He spoke to the Business Daily on restructuring the NSSF and what to expect from his leadership.
How do you plan to deliver as the board chair of NSSF?
My strategy with my team is to promote a positive image of the NSSF as an organisation through continuous engagement with all our key stakeholders.
We will encourage these stakeholders on the essence of having the NSSF as a partner. As the leader of the board, I intend to push for the formulation of policies that are in line with the growth of the organisation for posterity and to the benefit of our members.
What are your priorities?
My first priority is to address the human resource issues, which I am aware, have been some of the impediments to achieving the overall NSSF corporate objective.
Some offices have remained without substantive heads for quite a long time. This has affected the fund’s operations and service delivery to our members in one way or another. Correcting the situation will help motivate staff for better productivity.
My second priority will be to streamline business processes to ensure that the flow of operations is efficient and timely. This will also help in the turn-around time for benefits payment to our members.
My third priority will be to rebalance the NSSF portfolio. There is a need to relook at our assets, especially those that are low-yielding to be re-invested into higher-yielding asset classes.
We will also support the government’s agenda, especially within the savings and the pensions sector, with a focus on affordable housing.
We own pieces of land that we have earmarked for immediate development in Kisumu and Machakos for this purpose.
Will you be going for insiders or outsiders?
The NSSF is an equal opportunity employer. However, for now, I will focus more on these staffing issues within the NSSF as I ensure that all the staff in acting capacity are given an opportunity to apply for the vacant positions.
As you are aware we have advertised for the regional managers and CEO positions and we will do the same with the other vacant positions in due course.
All the positions will be filled competitively, with insiders and outsiders being given equal opportunities.
What is the implication of the increase in pension contribution to NSSF contributions?
It's important to note that Kenya has the lowest savings culture regionally at 12 percent compared to Uganda and Tanzania which are above 20 percent, with Africa’s average at 17 percent.
We are prioritising the implementation of the NSSF Act, 2013, which is a good thing for the workers and the economy of this country.
As Kenyans, we need to contribute more for the better replenishment of our retirement benefits that can fit a dignified after-work life.
The NSSF has now started implementing the increase from Sh200 to Sh1,080 after the court okayed it. What next?
We have commenced the full implementation of the Act. The move is for the people's good and will enable them to get better retirement benefits.
We are already reaching out to the youth to create more awareness and grow the culture of savings. We are collaborating with the Kenya Music Festival to conduct social security education and financial literacy for the learners.
What else is the NSSF doing to put more workers on pension cover?
We are creating more products that are flexible for members. We came up with Haba Haba, which is an informal sector product.
We are also having partnerships with organised groups with the aim of increasing social security savers. Expect a new and more rigorous NSSF that will be promoting the need to save as well as engaging the media more regularly.
How will you deal with employers who deduct and do not remit?
Employers who deduct and fail to remit are indeed going against the law. We have compliance officers who should be able to issue guidance.
For those who fail to comply, legal action will be taken against them. We have also actively engaged trade unions to help in member and employer sensitisation, which has greatly helped us in compliance and recovery of arrears.