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How will you live when you retire?

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In 2009 when the government raised the retirement age from 55 to 60 years, it gave civil servants not only an extended working life but also a brief postponement to beginning retirement life. Some private sector organizations followed suit and revised their HR manuals accordingly.

For employees who were not prepared for retirement the extension was buying time to put their houses in order. When the employee finally retired, they found that retirement was different ball game that had factors which were at times beyond their sober imagination.

One of the factors is reduced income that is not enough to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed while working. It dawns on the retirees that the lumpsum they received and the subsequent meager pension was a drop in the ocean for meeting their needs. Those who still have school or college going children even liquidate some of their assets to fund the children’s education.

Others who relocate to the rural area and have not house there use some of the money to construct one. For those who had existing medical conditions whose bills the employer was meeting ended up digging deeper into their terminal benefits to meet the bills.

Another factor that retirees face is uncertainty on medical insurance cover that becomes only limited to NHIF. Some medical insurance providers discriminate the retirees on age grounds. At least the Kenya Association of Retired Officers came to their aid under its agreement with NHIF. Retirement time is when people are prone to age-related illness, yet access to other forms of medical cover is limited.

On a personal level, the retirees find the transition period into full time retirement life not as easy as they had imagined. Suddenly, they have a lot of free time but nothing on their To Do List. Spending the excess time sleeping is not the answer. Neither is watching TV or making aimless walks around and about their locales. The retirees realize that to lead a meaning retirement requires that they engage on productive activities.

The retirees have to deal with family members some of whom are negative on their changed situation. Family members have expectations which the retirees. The retirees’ home fronts become battle lines of previously unresolved disputes. This stresses the retirees making them isolated with high chances of drifting into depression, if family support and understanding is not forthcoming in good time.

The other factor the retirees contend with are societal stereotypes on retirement and aging. Some communities regard retired people as those whose usefulness has come to an end. Others have even coined nicknames for them that imply that they are spent forces. With this kind of reception, the retirees begi viewing retirement as a curse and not a period to give back to society in a new capacity.

Going through the factors the big question is: What would be done to enhance the quality of retirement life for retirees? These are people who have served this county and should not be relegated to misery on grounds of leaving paid employment.

Except for circulars, code of regulations and HR manuals that have bits and pieces on retirement, there is no national policy on retirement. Such a policy would provide a framework for addressing the many issues of retirement and provide guidelines for addressing them.

Some of the existing laws do not have provisions for handling retired people who fall in the category of the older persons. Other laws are outwardly discriminatory on retired people on age grounds. In the developed world such laws have been repealed to pave way for retirees to further contribute towards national development.

The Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) is doing a great job in safeguarding the employees’ pensions. However, its focus need to be expanded beyond retirement money to include other aspects like healthcare and money management in retirement.

NSSF needs to consider annuity payments to retirees because lumpsum payouts dry up within a short period for lack of personal financial planning. Both national and county governments should make regular adjustments to pensions to match with inflation. Otherwise, the purchasing power of retirees is so eroded that they become dependants on their children and society.

Civil societies and lobby groups should be lauded for championing human rights. The next frontier is to fight for human rights of retirees particularly on access to medical care. The present retirees associations are to focused on the pensions to the detriment of other welfare issues.

Retirees are sometimes bombarded with stereotypes that demean their status in society. As in hate speech, let us have “hate words” that should be punishable in law. Retirees in other countries have earned titles like Senior Citizens to appreciate their past contributions to society.

It time for employing organizations including government to incorporate pre-retirement training programs in their code of regulations or HR manuals. Let the training be formal so that it is not at whims of the administration. For the training to have the impact intended, there is need to develop a nationally recognized curriculum on retirement education.

The curriculum may be implemented in two phases. The first one should be mounted when employees are left with five years before retirement and the next one in the year of actual retirement. This approach will be a step ahead of the current practice where employee either don’t undergo training or do so at the eleventh hour.

Retirees struggle to find what to do in retirement. They need to get a new vocation for meaningful retirement. Otherwise, sitting at home doing nothing will cause isolation with its consequences such as depression and early death. Regarding new vocations, retirees especially those with professional expertise should be encouraged to form and join Retirees Professionals Agencies to continue serving the public on part-time basis.

Retirees need to plan for retirement as part of their life goals. In the planning one of the key items to be considered is the location for a retirement home. If someone intends to eventually retire to the rural area they should build a house there. There are cases of retirees who used their terminal benefits to build retirement homes, being left with nothing.

Since retirement affects family members, retirees would live better through enhancing their family relationships. Living in a chaotic family situation would make a retiree’s life miserable. Let retirees mend or strengthen their relationships with family members for mutual co-existence.

At national, societal and individual level let’s join hands to support the cause of retirees to live satisfactory retirement lives. What national pride can we exude when those that made contributions for achievements of national goals lead decent lives and are treated with respect and dignity?

Samson Osero, Human Resources and Development Consultant. Email: [email protected]

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Second-round M-Akiba bond issue a letdown again

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By JAMES ANYANZWA
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The Kenya government’s attempts to boost national savings through its retail market bond dubbed M-Akiba failed to excite the market for the second time in a row posting a 21 per cent undersubscription.

The government reopened the mobile-based infrastructure bond hoping to raise Ksh250 million but only managed Ksh197 million ($1.97 million), accounting for a 79 per cent subscription rate.

The bond, which was listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange on March 12, has a duration to maturity of 18 months and will be redeemed on September 7, 2020.

The proceeds of the bond issue were meant to settle total interest payments valued at Ksh12.38 million ($123,800) for investors who bought into the initial tranche of Ksh150 million in March 2017.

The Central Depository and Settlement Corporation Ltd has so far paid out, on behalf of the government, a total of Ksh59.67 million ($596,700) in interest to M-Akiba bondholders since the first issue.

The government is targeting investors with as little as Ksh3,000 ($30) in investment capital to purchase the bond and benefit from an annual rate of return of 10 per cent paid after every six months, implying that such an investor would receive Ksh150 ($1.5) through his phone after six months and a total of Ksh300 ($3) in a year.

But according to Financial Sector Deepening Kenya, some investors feel that the Ksh3,000 would be better allocated to alternative savings groups or investment opportunities that could provide quick returns or access to credit.

Although the M-Akiba bond was launched with the aim of promoting a national savings culture and reducing the government borrowing costs, this is yet to happen. The government had set a target to raise Ksh1 billion ($10 million) through the M-Akiba bond but last year the issue failed after a successful pilot project.

The government had put M-Akiba bond worth Ksh1 billion ($10 million) on offer, with hopes that the issue would sell out and even allowed a green-shoe option of Ksh2.8 billion ($28 million), that in case of oversubscription it could take up a massive Ksh3.8 billion ($38 million.

However, the government managed to raise only Ksh247 million ($2.47 million) of the targeted Ksh1 billion ($10 million).

Over 300,000 people registered on the M-Akiba platform but only 5,988 purchased the M-Akiba $2.47 million, less than a quarter of the Ksh 1 billion ($10 million) on offer.

It was a three-year bond with a coupon rate of 10 per cent paid semi-annually and a tax-free status in line with other infrastructure bonds.



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Uhuru visits Africa’s biggest fish freezing factory, says Kenya will copy Namibia’s example

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He said African nations should work together and learn from the examples of countries like Namibia, which has implemented progressive measures to develop its fisheries sector/PSCU

, WALVIS BAY, NAMIBIA, Mar 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said African countries must take stronger steps to benefit from their immense marine resources.

He said many nations including Kenya gain almost nothing from their sea resources including fish.

The President said it was disappointing that foreign nations are benefiting more from the abundant fish in the territorial waters of many African countries.

He said African nations should work together and learn from the examples of countries like Namibia, which has implemented progressive measures to develop its fisheries sector.

The Kenyan leader spoke when he toured Seaflower Pelagic Processing factory in Walvis Bay, Namibia, which has the distinction of being the biggest fish-freezing factory in Africa.

The factory was set up recently at the cost of $40 million (about Sh4 billion) through a partnership between the Namibian Government and a private investor.

The factory freezes 600 tonnes of fish on a daily basis and has created jobs for 700 people.

President Kenyatta instructed Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Trade and Industry CS Peter Munya to immediately take steps to learn from the Namibian experience so that Kenya can have a similar factory.

Namibia’s Vice President Dr Nangolo Mbumba and Fisheries Minister Bernhardt Esau said the Government embarked on strengthening fishing in order to give Namibia a food security guarantee.

Vice President Mbumba said Namibia and Kenya are united by true friendship that started when Namibians were fighting for freedom.

“When SWAPO was fighting for freedom, the first vehicle it ever owned was bought by Kenya. We will also never forget the role played by the Kenyan contingent of UNTAG which remained behind at the cost of Kenya to protect Namibians until the country was stable,” said Vice President Mbumba.

President Kenyatta toured the fish factory after visiting the headquarters of Namibia port authority, Namport, also in Walvis Bay.

“We are here to learn from how Namibia is benefiting from its blue economy even as we continue to support and partner with them in various other fields,” said President Kenyatta.

The port of Mombasa and Walvis Bay are similar because they serve many nations in the interior of Africa.

The President was taken on a tour of the port and shown how the Government is reclaiming land from the sea to enable the port to handle ships with bigger capacity.

To enhance its efficiency in serving neighbouring landlocked countries, Namport has assigned dry ports to the different nations so that they can manage their own cargo.

President Kenyatta said Kenya would study the idea of dry ports for neighbouring countries that depend on the Port of Mombasa for their imports and exports.

“That kind of arrangement can let them manage their own cargo and our job will be to be efficient port owners,” said President Kenyatta.

He said the port of Mombasa and Namport would partner in the areas of efficiency enhancement, and the bridging of management and administration gaps that lead to corruption with the aim of improving service delivery.

The President said mismanagement and other malpractices at the ports create inefficiencies, which in turn affect economies of many countries that depend on these ports as gateways into their countries.

The Namibian Government has already requested guidance from Kenya in the setting up of a single window system for processing and clearing transit cargo across many borders. The system allows importers to input data once which is then used by all countries through which the goods pass on their way to their destinations.

President Kenyatta said Africa would only succeed when all nations agree to collaborate to achieve progress.

“If Africa succeeds Namibia has succeeded and if Africa succeeds Kenya will also have succeeded,” said President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta is on a State Visit to Namibia and was Friday hosted at State House, Windhoek, where he held bilateral talks with President Hage Geingob.





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Transfast upgrade to facilitate inter-Africa transfers : The Standard

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The firm is set to unveil new modes of money transfer that seek to guarantee users much convenience at lower cost.

Global money transfer and payment firm Transfast has revealed plans to re-engineer its platforms to allow Kenyans and other East Africans to send money both across and outside Africa.

This is even as transaction times are set to be radically adjusted to allow for much efficiency and further cost reductions.
The far-reaching changes were announced as Transfast recently met with East African business partners to build its network strength in Africa by partnering with a number of banks and other institutions.
New on the list of 18 partners was Postbank Uganda and Tanzania’s NMB Bank. Others were Ecobank Rwanda, Safaricom, Commercial Bank of Africa, as well as Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya.
Gulf African Bank and Kenya’s payment solutions provider PI Consulting, also came on board as Transfast agents.
“As we seek to be a leader giving the best service across the globe, we are looking to invest heavily is upgrading our systems to facilitate transactions at very affordable rates,” said Transfast Eastern Africa Regional Manager Daniel Muchika.
Further, he said the firm is set to unveil new modes of money transfer that seek to guarantee users much convenience at lower cost.
“We are also working at supporting freelance work around the world through integration partnerships with as many job platforms,” he said.
Transfast is a growing international money transfer and cross-border payments company headquartered in New York with additional offices in the UAE and the Philippines.
Founded in 1988, the company is a provider of multi-currency, cross-border payments solutions for consumers and businesses around the world.
Remittances are processed through its direct-to-bank network, and the company offers over 350, 000 cash payout points across 130 countries.
In Africa, Transfast operates in over 30 countries where the company’s bank network covers up to 90 per cent of adult bank account holders in those nations.
Transfast has crossed the 45,000-location mark in India with more than four million customers globally.
To date, the platform is on record for having processed about $8.5 billion worth of transactions.

TransfastMoney transfer





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