Thursday, 31 October 2013

Burundi transfers pension contribution for Rwandans

1383263746n4The Burundian government has finally transferred more than Brf111 million (about Rwf48 million) in contributions by Rwandans who worked in the country’s public service before the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The shares were transferred through the National Bank of Rwanda; a dummy cheque was presented to Rwandan government officials on Wednesday by Anicet Niyongabo, the director of Cabinet in the Office of the Burundian First Vice-Presidency.

This was during the meeting of the joint permanent commission comprising senior officials from the ministries of public service and foreign affairs from the two countries.

Also participating in the meeting are heads of the social security boards of the two countries and among the attributes of the permanent commission include facilitating the payment of the funds.

The money disbursed will be shared between the 1,800 claimants. It was channeled through the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).

Burundians who were formerly employed in Rwanda had their claims settled and they receive their pension benefits on a monthly basis.

Oswald Munyandekwe, the RSSB director of pensions and occupational hazards, said contributions for 300 Rwandans had not been included but the matter is being  followed-up.

Munyandekwe said the contributions transferred constituted the second batch, following the disbursement, earlier this year, of the equivalent of 3 per cent on monthly contributions.

“The latest payment is now state contribution because, according to the pension law, the employer has to top up on an employee’s pension contribution. In the case of Burundi, the employer contributes 4.5 per cent,” he said.

Rwandans who served in various state organs in Burundi have for years been complaining that their pensions were inaccessible after returning home.

This was because a law in Burundi prohibited any pensioner residing outside the country to access their benefits.

“We are optimistic that these issues will be resolved since there is already commitment from both sides,” Vincent Munyeshaka, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, said.

The commission also discussed the issue of nationals who left either country without paying back loans as well as others who claim to have left immovable properties in both countries.

Munyandekwe said they have so far received complaints involving eight Burundians who defaulted on loans totaling Rwf50 million with two local banks.

On the Burundian side, there are about 350 Rwandans who are supposed to pay debts worth Brf153 million.

Burundi officials said 331 of these were teachers and had received the money through a savings scheme.

“For those who died, their relatives will pay. What we want is to resolve all these matters,” Niyongabo said.

Beneficiary speaks out

George Ntabazwa, who worked in Bujumbura before and after independence, said he has been seeking his pension since returning home in 1995.

The 77-year-old was an assistant medical officer in Burundi during the Belgian administration and he said he does not remember exactly how much he was earning and the amount he is supposed to get.

“I  have been waiting for that money since I returned to home. I had given up and now this is good news.”

Burundi transfers pension contribution for Rwandans


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