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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

East Africa to harmonize pension regimes to promote labor mobility

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- East African Community (EAC) member states plan to harmonize their pension regimes in order to promote labor mobility, officials said on Thursday.

Nzomo Mutuku, chief executive officer of Kenya’s Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA), told Xinhua in Nairobi that currently the six member states of the EAC have different taxation levels for the pensions industry and therefore workers could lose benefits if they move from one partner state to another.

“All the partner states are committed to have the same pension standards in order to promote regional integration,” Mutuku said. EAC partner states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The EAC common market protocol was inaugurated in 2010 and calls for free movement of people, labor and capital.

The East Africa Pension Supervisors Association has completed a study on pension portability across the trading bloc while another study on tax harmonization will be completed in early 2019.

Mutuku said that results of the studies will be presented to the EAC sectoral council for approval before it is presented to the EAC heads of state for endorsement.

He said that the pension industry across the regional bloc is at different stages of development.

The RBA official noted that all members states have pension systems that cover the public sector but Kenya has the most advanced private sector pension industry.

He said that a harmonized pension regime will also include provisions to include the large informal sector who is often excluded from pensions systems.

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