Third Eye

Time to exorcise the devil at National Social Security Fund

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 21:13 |
The National Social Security Fund headquarters in Nairobi. Photo/PD/FILE

The true measure of the wellness of society is in how it plans for its children and how it treats its elderly.

Different communities have come up with novel systems to ensure the elderly or those in need do not live like lesser human beings. Indeed, the health, happiness and fortune of everyone is the ultimate goal.

Kenya started the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) with the aim of “providing adequate income replacement to members, through prudent investments and prompt payment of benefits.”

The purpose was to invest in the Fund during one’s productive years and once the investor retires from employment he or she has a fall back financial plan. It was supposed to make the sunset years comfortable.

However, the exact opposite is being witnessed. A cursory research on NSSF reveals more scandals than projects targeted at getting returns for peoples’ investment. And there are many. 

Investing hundreds of millions in collapsing stock broker Shah Munge; buying wind in the name of shares in Discount Securities Limited; Tassia II projects where more than Sh3 billion went up in smoke; once touted as the tallest building in the region the Hazina Towers story is all too familiar; not to mention construction of Nyayo estate in Embakasi whose cost was varied from Sh2 billion to Sh12 billion. This is not the way to invest public money.

The latest scandal facing NSS  is the failure to account for more than Sh5.8 billion of members’ contributions. 

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungo has fingered the NSSF management for, among other things, Sh290 million that had not been posted to individual accounts; unrecorded receipts in bank statements and cash books with different amounts from the ones declared; huge variance of money reflected in the Fund’s cash book and the actual amount in the bank reconciliation statement.

That should not be allowed to continue. It is time to exorcise the NSSF corruption demon once and for all.

The mess dates back to 1965 when the Fund was created and no one seems to want it to work.

Managers are sacked and taken to court but let go for myriad reasons. No money is recovered.

The Board of Trustees has been reconstituted once in a while but the rot continues.

We call on an overhaul of the system. Something radical to finally set the sails in the right direction: One of transparency, profitability and that is scandal free.

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