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The Role Of Regional Integration On Portability Of Pensions In East African Community

This study investigated the role of regional integration on portability of pension in the East African Community. Career construction theory guided this study as the sociological underpinning clarifying the relationship between regional integration as the independent variable and the portability of pensions as the dependent variable. The study targeted experts in the areas of Regional Integration and Professional labor mobility, officials from the EAC secretariat in Arusha Tanzania, EAC parliamentarians, officials from the ministry of foreign affairs and ministry of labor and social protection and officials from the Central Organization of Trade Unions- Kenya (COTU). To get the sample size, the study adopted Fisher’s formula used to determine the sample size from which to make inference on population: ±5% precision level and 95% confidence level (n = N/1 + N (e) 2). The study utilized descriptive survey research design and mixed research methods which involved both quantitative and qualitative techniques of data collection and analysis. Qualitative data was coded, analyzed using verbatim and presented using a narrative format. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics with the help of the Statistical package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and presented using tables, pie charts and graphs. From the findings, governments in East African Community have licensed operation of pension scheme service providers. No active policy on pension transfer and labour laws are frequently violated. Majority of the respondents (89.5%) quoted that they would consider working in a different country because of higher wages. All respondents (100%) either ‘Strongly Agree’ or ‘Agree’ with the opinion that ‘Better working conditions’ is a motivation enough to consider working in a different country. Availability of job opportunities and absence of work permit fees seem to be an incentive for people to consider working in a different country as implied by 100% and 89.5% of the respondents respectively. 89.5% of respondents believe that flexible immigration policies motivate them to working in a different jurisdiction. From the study, portability of pension and the implementation of The EAC Common Market protocol was still a challenge within East Africa region. The study recommends the institutionalization of Portable Pension Schemes in the region. Additionally, it recommends that each member state to ensure that their labour schemes be able to provide for some protection as required by the protocol by: a) restraining the prolonging of the bestowing period; b) instructing the nation pension structure to have adequate resources to ensure that the issue portability is fully addressed; c) having some measure in place to enforce payment of contribution in the event the employer quits before the bestowing period.

Key words: Regional integration, portability of pensions, social security, labor schemes

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