RBA partners with SMEs authority targeting informal workers in counties

Acting RBA chief executive Nzomo Mutuku. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG
Acting RBA chief executive Nzomo Mutuku. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

The Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) has partnered with the Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA) to increase its membership and assets held by pension schemes in counties.

RBA chief executive Nzomo Mutuku said in Kwale the organisation is targeting jua kali artisans, vegetable vendors and other small entrepreneurs in the informal sector to join pension schemes.

“We have teamed up with MSEA in counties where our main target is small scale enterprises in the informal sector.

"We started in Machakos, Kisumu, Kakamega and we are now eyeing the coast region. We shall soon start in Kilifi. The response in the other regions has been good,” Mr Mutuku said.

Daily engagement

He said decision to incorporate MSEA in the plans was because the latter has been engaging in the industry players on the ground ona daily basis.

“With MSEA, it will be easy to work directly and engage the small enterprises and encourage them to start or join pension schemes.

"Most of the new jobs are now found in the informal sector, where for long, did not have a defined pension arrangement,” the CEO said.

Mr Nzomo said for the past three years, coverage ratio had increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the labour force.

“We have currently recorded 20 per cent of Kenyans on pension scheme and the reason it is low is because the labour force is in the informal sector where they don’t have an elaborative pension arrangement like the formal sector,” he added.

Formal sectors

Traditionally, he said, pension targeted at formal sectors where deductions were pegged on the payroll, hence making it hard to enforce the same to the informal sector.

“There are new innovations pushing the industry forward like the Mbao Scheme where one can contribute from as little as Sh20 through mobile phone to the scheme. It is working well and has currently recorded 100,000 members countrywide,” Mr Nzomo said.

Mr Mutuku said the assets under RBA management had hit Sh1 trillion mark by December last year and was looking forward to record more business this year.

“Currently, we are managing the assets of 1,200 pension schemes in the country. I am urging more people to come up with products that will accelerate the growth of this sector especially in the informal sector,” he said.

The RBA boss urged players in the industry to introduce pension schemes for informal workers in a bid to increase coverage so that Kenyans can enjoy old age.

“We are currently doing a lot of campaigns to sensitize Kenyans on how they can save and benefit at RBA,” he said.