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Daily Nation : February 7th 2014
DAILY NATION Friday February 7, 2014 Opinion 13 DIALOGUE | Jacqueline Mugo Mr Cabinet secretary, let the competent managers at NSSF run fund’s affairs curity, Mr Kazungu Kambi, on the need to embrace dialogue for the good of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and the ministry makes interesting read. The commentary, which was intended to lament the perennial challenges that face the NSSF, however only served to highlight the fact that the Cabinet secretary is yet to appreciate the kind of organisation the NSSF is and the fact that his decision to run its affairs through the media is in itself an affront to dialogue. The National Social Security Fund was initiated by workers’ and employers’ representatives in the 1960s to address the problem of employees who were retiring without adequate terminal benefits or income. There is, therefore, nothing amiss if workers and employers, who are the sole contributors to the fund, work together towards ensuring that their money is well managed. What do the workers of this country stand to gain from the Tassia II project? Rather than engage in a war A of words over the “cancelled” project, the Cabinet secretary should move fast to ensure that NSSF quickly deals with the credibility issues it keeps grappling with due to political interference. The past delib- recent article by the Cabinet secretary for Labour and Social Se- Ms Mugo, executive director of Federation of Kenya Employers. erations of the NSSF board are, of course, available to him either directly or through the ministry representatives who sit in the board. It is also a matter of public knowledge the issues the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has raised over the years about the running of NSSF. Employers, who are rep- resented on the board, have nothing but the best interests of workers at heart. That is the sole reason for their support of enhanced contributions in the new NSSF Act so that workers can live comfortable lives after retirement. The standoff over Tassia II could easily have been avoided if the NSSF board had called a meeting to determine the project’s viability, as FKE had requested. There are, indeed, compe- tent managers at the NSSF who must be allowed to professionally run the fund. The Cabinet secretary must, therefore, explain to Kenyans why he is the face of Tassia II and why he is the one strenuously defending the project which is under investigation by two committees of Parliament and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. He should also explain if he is now the one running the affairs of the NSSF board of trustees. The idea that FKE and the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) should not have a “vibrant strong alliance” is totally against the spirit of tripartism, which the Cabinet secretary himself is supposed to champion. Need we mention that FKE is an independent and non-partisan champion of the interest of employers in Kenya and cannot be influenced on which associations or alliances to engage in? Employers are independent and non-government members on the NSSF board and the Cabinet secretary should not attempt to deride their representatives and those of workers’ in the court of public opinion merely because they have asked that the right procedure be followed in investing workers’ pension funds. Employers value dialogue as the best way to address economic and social issues of common interest. This is the bedrock on which our industrial relations system is founded. The management board of FKE was among the first delegations to pay a courtesy call on the Cabinet secretary when he formally took office. We presented to him a memorandum of employers’ priorities. It is unfortunate that the Cabinet secretary has not built on this goodwill and is instead resorting to unfounded accusations. FKE wrote to the chairman and the acting managing trustee in December 2013, asking them to call a meeting to discuss the Tassia II project. This was an attempt to have the board formally convened to address the issues that arose. Sadly, FKE did not receive any response to this communication, nor was a meeting convened. It is, therefore, dishonest for the Cabinet secretary to preach the spirit of dialogue when he selectively chooses when to embrace it. Given that the Tassia II project is currently under investigation and that the Cabinet secretary purportedly “cancelled” the project, we would like to know why he is still discussing it in the media. Ms Mugo is the executive director of the Federation of Kenya Employers THE CUTTING EDGE BY THE WATCHMAN FAMILY VALUES. Kiambu Governor William Kabo- go’s call to young women to get married should not be just condemned, says X.N. Iraki. “The governor is simply frustrated by the breakdown of families in Kiambu and elsewhere in central Kenya, where some children even use their mother’s names as their surnames. You cannot build a strong nation without strong families. There is nothing heroic about bringing up a child alone. Please, do not kill the messenger...” His contact is email@example.com. NO MORE EXCUSES. Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero now has no excuse for not delivering the goods to residents. Isaac Tsikhutsu says a petition against his election as governor was thrown out and the latest threat to his political career, arising from his clash with city Women’s Rep Shebesh is over as she has forgiven him. “He should now have garbage cleared, potholes fixed, drains unclogged, markets cleaned, streets lit, street boys removed, traffic flow improved and water supply streamlined.” His contact is firstname.lastname@example.org. Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero. CASH COW. As the police now concentrate on the new cash cow that is administering the Alcoblow to catch those driving under the influence of alcohol, carjackers and other vermin are having a field day, says Michael Mburu. “The carjackers ensure that they are sober, as that is the only way to pass through a police check at night on their way to waylay unsuspecting motorists. They really understand the psychology of the police, who are now totally focused on Alcoblow as serious crimes mount.” His contact is email@example.com. GROWTH | Joseph Jimenez Towards a healthier, wealthier Africa T he BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) have long been the focus of emerging-market inves- tors. But it is in Africa, a region with the world’s second-fastest growth, where the next big business opportunities lie. Foreign investors report that their return on investment in Africa is higher than in any other emerging region. By 2040, the continent’s working-age population will total an estimated 1.1 billion people, providing businesses with a larger labour pool than even China or India. However, Africa also faces major chal- lenges. One of the biggest concerns is inadequate health care. Preventable and treatable diseases plague the population. Life expectancy is 14 years below the global average. Every minute, an African child dies from malaria. If left unaddressed, the dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases could jeopardise Africa’s economic potential. To avoid this, three critical areas of health care must be addressed: Technology, infrastructure, and education. Africa has witnessed some remark- able technological leaps. A decade ago, telecoms infrastructure was almost nonexistent. Today, one in six people owns a mobile phone. Africa has pioneered the use of mobile banking, with local players Africa is showing signs of its promise, but innovative solutions to improve its people’s health are essential if the continent is to approach its potential. like M-Pesa and global corporations like Citi demonstrating how new technology can provide vital financial services to the unbanked population. Joining this mobile-phone revolution, Novartis is working with five African governments and private-sector partners to improve drug distribution and monitor the supply of anti-malaria medicines in rural areas using text messaging and electronic mapping. A second crucial aspect of improving Af- rica’s health care is infrastructure. Good rail lines, roads, and ports allow products and services to be distributed widely at lower cost, and to benefit from economies of scale. Fortunately, several companies are rising to the challenge. Coca-Cola, for example, is contributing its supply-chain expertise to map out health facilities and implement stock-management software to support the LOST AND FOUND. For the sake of the owner and distribution of bed nets, contraceptives, antiAids drugs, and vaccines to remote villages. Finally, education is one of the most powerful tools for reducing poverty and generating sustainable, inclusive economic growth. But, given limited resources and few teachers, too many children are being left behind. Public-private partnerships are helping to change this. So Novartis has formed a partnership with the Earth Institute, the United Nations, and private-sector groups to train and deploy by 2015 a million community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa to deliver basic treatment and preventive care, and to track disease outbreaks. The idea is that local people will learn how to support their communities rather than rely on handouts, and thereby lift themselves out of poverty permanently. Africa is increasingly showing signs of its promise, but innovative solutions to improve its people’s health are essential if the continent is to approach its potential. This will require more than philanthropy: It will demand new commercial models that solve health care issues, help the economy to grow, and benefit those who invest in Africa’s future. Joseph Jimenez is CEO of Novartis, a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2014. due to the sheer sentimental value she must certainly attach to this item that must mean a lot to her and her husband, Jackson Okachia, a public-spirited Nairobi resident, is sending out this appeal. Says he: “Did you misplace your wedding ring around the Kenya Railways headquarters? You might just be lucky if your husband is Michael and you tied the knot on February 25, 2011. Contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org to get it back.” LONG WAIT. In May last year, Zainul Velji bought a car and paid the excise duty in Kisumu, lodging the logbook with the Kenya Revenue Authority for the transfer of ownership. To date, Zainul has not got back his logbook. When he enquired from KRA staff what could have gone wrong, he was told that the documents might have been misplaced and that he should send a new set. And he did so immediately. “So, why is it taking so long?” he asks. The car is a Mercedes Benz, Reg KAH 900X. His contact is Tel 0733744762 or email@example.com. FAMOUS WHITE CAR. What is this Kenyan crimi- nal’s obsession with white cars? asks Jim Webo, in response to a report of the kidnapping of an elderly man in Kiambu Town recently after he had just withdrawn Sh200,000 from a bank. “The robbers seized and bundled him into a white car and drove off to a slum, where they abandoned him. This reminds me of the white car the suspected killers of former Foreign Affairs minister Robert Ouko also reportedly used in 1990.” Have a curious day, won’t you! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Watchman, POB 49010, Nairobi 00100. Fax 2213946.
February 6th 2014
February 8th 2014