A guideline is a statement by which to determine a course of action. A guideline aims to streamline particular processes according to a set routine or sound practice. Guidelines may be issued by and used by any organization (governmental or private) to make the actions of its employees or divisions more predictable, and presumably of higher quality.
The Social Security (Regulatory Authority) Act CAP.135 R.E 2015 under Section 5(1) (c) empowers the Director General to issue guidelines to the schemes for efficient and effective operations of social security sector.
SSRA have issued 14 Social Security guidelines so far, and those are Security Schemes (Data Management) Guidelines, revised edition, 2018, Social Security (Conduct of Affairs of the Board of Trustees of Schemes) Guidelines, revised edition, 2018, Social Security (Schemes Conduct of Actuarial Services).Guidelines, revised edition, 2018,Social Security Schemes Investment Guidelines, revised edition, 2018,Social Security Schemes Membership Registration) Guidelines, revised edition, 2018,Social Security Schemes (Totalization of Contributions Periods).Guidelines, revised edition, 2018,Social Security Schemes Security of Electronic of Information Guidelines, revised edition, 2018, Social Security Schemes (Conduct of Affairs of Annual Members Conference)Guidelines, revised edition, 2018,Social Security Schemes Reporting Standard Guidelines, revised edition, 2018, Social Security Schemes (Interoperability ) Guidelines, revised edition, 2018,Social Security Schemes (Risk Management) Guidelines, revised edition, 2018,Social security schemes (Administration expenses) guidelines, revised edition, 2018,Social Security Schemes (Funding level) guidelines, 2018,Social security schemes (umbrella schemes), 2018
The Social Security Regulatory Authority is established under the Social Security (Regulatory) Authority Act, Cap 135 [RE. 2015] (SSRA Act) with the main objective of supervising and regulating the social security sector. Accordingly, among other functions, the Authority has the primary responsibility to make sure members’ interest are well protected.
In line with Section 5 (d) of the SSRA Act, the Authority has been protecting and safeguarding members’ interests through the established avenue for complaint handling system in the Authority.
1.2 Complaints Management
Section 44(3) of the SSRA Act, mandates the Authority to handle and resolve disputes (complaints) between Schemes’ members and Schemes, Scheme against Scheme and Scheme against Fund Managers. In most cases, the Authority receives complaints from Schemes’ members against their respective Schemes. These complaints are mostly reported to the Authority by way of letters, electronic complaints, calls, emails and physical visits to the Authority.
Although Section 44(2) of the SSRA Act requires the Authority to review a decision of the Scheme within thirty (30) days of receipt and communicate its decision to the complainant or parties accordingly, in most cases the Authority has been responding to these complaints within seven days save for complaints which need further research, scrutiny and supporting evidence. In additional to that the Authority have also prepared the Complaints Management Tracking System. The system was tested on 13th March, 2018 and came effective on the same day noon time.
The system is now more advanced because one can access all complaints coming from different media (letters (e-office, phone calls, face to face, emails, website and Mobile App) at the same system.
The system is also capable of revealing information of complaints per category (type of complaint), scheme, date and complainant’s name. The system is capable of producing summary of complaints whether per date, status and scheme. All in all, the system will enable the Authority to easily register, track and archive all complaints submitted to the Authority.
1.3 NATURE OF COMPLAINTS RECEIVED AT SSRA
The complaints which are commonly received by the Authority when solving complaints are mainly on the following areas:
- delay of benefit payment;
- disatisfaction of benefit computation formula;
- underpayments of benefits;
- complaints on minimum pensions;
- complaints on poor customer services from the Schemes;
- unremitted/delayed contributions;
- Unequal employee contribution rate between NSSF members i.e 10% vs 5% for Goverment employees;
- wrong calculations of benefits;
- Totalisation and
- complaints of the definition of salary used by NSSF as a basis of contibution deduction in relation to definitions to other Schemes’ laws.
The Authority is still facing a number of challenges while resolving complaints from various stakeholders. Such challenges include:
- Lack of awareness: Some members and stakeholders lack basic awareness on social security issues, to the extent that some issues could have been resolved out right by the relevamt scheme had the complainant known the facts at hand. To resolve this challenge the Authority has been conducting awareness campaigns in line with its communication strategy.
- Lack of Social Security Tribunal; section 43 of the Act provides for establishment of the Social Security Tribunal by the Minister responsible for social security. As of todate, the Tribunal has not been formed as such the Authority has been acting as a final Body in deciding some of the social security matters. Aggrieved persons come back to the Authority even when the Authority had made its final decision. To resolve this challenge, the Authority is following up with the Minister on formation of the Tribunal.
- Lack of presence outside Dar-es-Salaam; upcountry members are not capable of accessing services from the Authority at the regions, especially those from remote areas with limited communications. To sort out this problem the Management will review its strategy and seek for the Board’s approval.
- There is no direct provision which subject employers under the jurisdcition of the Authority.
The Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) has the primary responsibility to regulate and supervise Social Security Sector in Tanzania. Ensuring quality Social Security services reaching every Tanzanian through soundly regulated sector. Section 5(1) of the Social Security Regulatory Authority Act mandates the Authority to carry out awareness interventions.
The major means which the Authority employs to fulfil this role is through awareness creation on public rights and obligations towards Social Security services. This has been achieved as per Communication Strategy through education, information dissemination and communication. Essentially, the Authority has been doing this to ensure that Tanzanians have adequate protection against life contingencies including old age, ill health, disability, and death of a bread earner that may affect the income of family.