Tanzania has attained remarkable achievements during the 60 years of Independence in promoting multiparty democracy, maintaining peace, harmony, patriotism and national unity. The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Parliament, Labour, Youth, Employment and Disabled), Jenister Mhagama revealed this when presenting her report on the achievements and challenges that her ministry had so far recorded during 60 years of Independence.
She said that multiparty system existed before and immediately after independence. The Minister said that, one party system existed between 1965 and 1992 but in 1992 the government reintroduced multiparty system to broaden the scope of democracy in the country. She said in 1992 the Multiparty Act was enacted and the establishment of the office of the registrar of political parties in the country where the parties started to be registered in 1992.
In 1995 General Election political parties which were registered has presidential candidates. Mhagama said that to date the office of the registrar of political parties has issued temporary registration certificates to 81 political parties and fully registration certificates to 25 political parties. She noted that the registrar office also nullified registration of six political parties which had fully registration for violating laws governing political parties in the country.
"To date our country has 19 political parties with fully registration one party with temporary registration ... Political parties act has been improved several times in order to go with current needs," she said. She further said that, the government has also strengthened labour and employment sector by providing training and formalising skills to its people. The Minister said that the government has conducted a study on able workforce sixth times thus enabling it to get important indicators for the labour market and formed a national strategy for skills development which is relevant to the labour market.
Mhagama said that the sties enabled the government to implement various programmes such as apprenticeships which until to date has benefited 43,381 youth while 14,440 were proceeding with training. Skills formalisation in informal system has been done to 20,334 youth while 4,316 were continuing to formalise their skills through various strategic projects including Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and Mwalimu Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Project and Natural gas pipeline.
"Despite some challenges for 60 years since the government attained remarkable achievements in all sectors including youth employment and economic empowerment, skills development, policy issues, as well as helping people with disabilities," she said. Meanwhile, Mhagama has directed the pension funds to come up with a mobile application which will enable members to monitor if their employers are remitting their contributions which are deducted from their salaries.
The Minister equally said that a special committee formed to work on the grievances presented by members was working on the public outcry over withdrawal benefits. In 2018, parliament amended the Social Security law, which among other things blocked employees from accessing their savings before retirement age. The amendments also saw all public pension funds merged to have the Public Service Social Security Fund (PSSSF) for all public servants and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for the Private Sector.
However yesterday, Ms. Mhagama said the government was aware of the public outcry especially employees who can not be employed again immediately after losing their jobs. She said the government had already formed a committee to work on all issues that were bringing misunderstanding between the pension funds and their members including the withdrawal benefit. The Minister said this when fielding questions from journalists a few minutes after she had presented her report on the achievements and challenges that her ministry had so far recorded during 60 years of Independence.
Ms. Mhagama said the government was looking on how withdrawal benefits could be paid depending on the kinds of workers and the types of their jobs. "We are preparing the best system to protect workers as per the requirement of the Constitution especially those who can not be employed after leaving a particular job and our committee is currently working on the issue," she said. The Committee to look on pertinent issues that were raised by the workers unions over pension funds including how retirees should be paid their retirement packages upon retirement, was formed after the late president John Magufuli held a meeting with Stakeholders at State House in Dar es Salaam in December 2018.
Withdraw benefit is a lump sum equal to members' and employers' contributions plus accrued interest payable to a member who has resigned from employment, has been retrenched, dismissed or terminated on medical grounds, abolition of office or any other cause. At the meeting, the Minister said there was a need for pension funds to have a mobile application which can help members to see if their contributions are remitted on time instead of spending much of their time to follow up in the offices of the pension funds.
This according to her would help employees to remind their employers of their legal obligations. The Minister further said the government was putting measures in place to clear the 4,6 tril/- debt that PSSF owes the government, saying that President Samia Suluhu Hassan had decided that 2 tril/- be cleared through treasury bonds. She added that out of 700 bn/- that the government borrowed from PSSF to implement several development projects, already 500 bn/- had been paid.