Pyrethrum pensioners petition Linturi over Sh2.5b arrears
The pensions sector was in the spotlight yesterday with more than 300 former employees of Pyrethrum Board of Kenya (PBK) appealing to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi to help them get their Sh2.5 billion arrears. They said they had not received their dues for the past 13 years after serving the firm which has since changed names.
Speaking in Nakuru, the pensioners through spokesperson, Harun Tinga, told Linturi to address the issue. “Most of us are in our sunset years and might die before we are paid our dues while others are ailing and are unable to pay hospital bills,” he said.
The disturbed pensioners are demanding the sale of 13 non-core assets spread across Nakuru City to settle their pending dues.
Last year, the successor to PBK, the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK) Board announced that it had written to the National Treasury seeking permission to sell houses and land in prime areas of Nakuru City to clear the pensioners’ dues.
Tinga said the issue is now before Cabinet and urged Linturi to fast-track the implementation process.
“Pensioners want a proper valuation of the assets which were undervalued by government valuers. Some houses in Nakuru City are worth Sh800 million, but the government valuers want them to be sold at about Sh300 million,” said Tinga. The Pyrethrum Board of Kenya Staff Superannuation Scheme was established in 1991 as a defined benefit scheme with each member contributing five per cent of their salaries while the employer contributed 15 per cent.
Mandatory retirement age
This money was to be invested over a period of time and after the contributors attained the mandatory retirement age, they were supposed to be paid in lump sum.
Pension regulations state that in case of retrenchment, the employee enjoys full benefits and in case of death, their families claim the benefits.
Chairperson of the pensioners Samuel Ainda urged President Ruto to intervene.
“These pensioners have children to feed, hospital bills to pay, school fees, rents, food among other overhead costs but they have no money and their families are suffering and have been reduced to beggars,” he said.
Ainda said many of them were sick and bedridden as their pension arrears accumulate. “Hundreds of pensioners are living in abject poverty. At least 80 out of 327 have died and 20 are seriously ill and bedridden, he disclosed.