Federation of Kenya Employers Launches Prestigious Employers of the Year Awards to Recognize Outstanding Workplace Practices

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has pulled out all the stops and unveiled the highly-anticipated Employers of the Year Awards (EYA), slated for September 29, 2023. This dazzling event aims to give a well-deserved pat on the back to employers who have gone above and beyond in their endeavors.

During the launch event at Waajiri House, FKE’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jacqueline Mugo, emphasized that the awards aim to acknowledge exemplary practices among employers in Kenya since 2017.

Mugo further revealed that the awards will cover eight categories, including inclusion, working environment, enterprise performance, employee relationships, and other areas.

“The Employer of the Year Awards, which carries the tagline ‘Honouring Best Employers,’ is FKE’s prestigious flagship event that seeks to showcase and reward outstanding practices and innovations in corporate performance, people management, and industrial relations among Kenyan employers. Our objective is to promote and maintain productivity, enterprise performance, and responsibility,” explained Mugo.

“We aspire to witness continuous improvement in the performance of enterprises operating in Kenya, fostering competitiveness and enhancing companies’ ability to generate jobs and create a conducive environment,” added Mugo.

The CEO praised the initiative of affordable housing, noting that involving Kenyans in decision-making processes would ensure the provision of decent housing.

“This aligns with the law that requires employers to provide housing or a 15% housing allowance, which is mostly handled by the private sector,” Mugo stated.

Mugo expressed concerns about the 3% housing levy, highlighting the need to consider people’s living standards and net earnings.

“The federation finds it challenging to support the proposed housing levy as our members are raising concerns about the numerous other proposals that levy taxes on us. We have recently implemented the NSSF, and there are discussions about NHIF increasing to 2.7% of an employee’s salary. All these burdens will ultimately be shifted to the employer,” Mugo expressed.

According to Mugo, the introduction of levies could open a Pandora’s box of job losses, as employers would find themselves between a rock and a hard place, trying to make ends meet by stretching employee salaries to the breaking point.

Racheal Matendechere, Head of HR Operations at British American Tobacco Kenya (BAT), highlighted the significance of winning the Employer of the Year Awards in 2017 and 2018. These accolades were received by BAT in the categories of effective HR practices, work environment, leadership, and governance practices. The recognition contributed to BAT’s certification from the global Top Employers Institute as a Top Employer in Kenya, Africa, and globally for the sixth consecutive year since 2018.

Matendechere encouraged fellow employers to participate in EYA 2023 to enhance their brand reputation, drive productivity, and promote business sustainability, thereby contributing to the growth of economies.

The Employer of the Year Awards centers around voluntary disclosure of relevant information that provides insight into an organization’s workplace practices. The awards continuously foster a strong industrial relations culture in Kenya, promoting enhanced industrial harmony.

Pesapal Secures Official License from National Bank of Rwanda To Operate in the Country

Pesapal, an African online payment facilitator, has hit the jackpot by bagging an official license from the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) as a Payment Service Provider (PSP).

Pesapal, a burgeoning African startup dedicated to advancing online payment solutions, has successfully obtained an official license from the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) as a Payment Service Provider (PSP).

By securing this license, Pesapal Rwanda is now equipped to introduce affordable, convenient, and secure digital financial services, significantly enhancing the ease with which Rwandan businesses and customers can send and receive payments.

In Rwanda, a multitude of businesses find themselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes to embracing digital payments, putting the brakes on their growth and throwing a spanner in the works of their competitive edge. However, with Pesapal Rwanda’s impressive array of digital payment solutions, such as mobile money Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), online platforms, and Point-of-Sale (POS) systems, businesses will be able to turn the tide. They can now roll in the dough with effortless cash deposits and withdrawals, carry out (insert type) transactions like a well-oiled machine, acquire and issue (insert type) financial instruments with ease, and even make money remittances a piece of cake.

Following the receipt of the license, Leonard Towwet, the Country Manager of Pesapal Rwanda, expressed his enthusiasm, emphasizing that the fintech company will equip Rwandan businesses with stand-alone POS terminals capable of accepting in-store payments.

“Our online payment gateway allows for seamless integration into business websites, providing support for both mobile money and card transactions,” noted Leonard.

Aligned with the Rwanda Fintech Strategy 2022-2027, the government’s policy objectives encompass prioritizing customer-centric financial inclusion and fostering the development of the financial sector, ultimately positioning Rwanda as a prominent regional financial center.

Agosta Liko, CEO and co-founder of Pesapal Group, expressed unwavering dedication to shaping the digital landscape of Africa and having a clear vision for a groundbreaking journey ahead. With their highly devoted team in place, they eagerly look forward to forging partnerships with Rwandan authorities and customers. Their aim is to introduce customized digital solutions that cater to specific requirements, encompassing features like ticketing, reservations, and comprehensive reporting functionalities.

Octagon Africa Secures Regulatory Approval for Tier II Pension Contributions Custodial

Octagon Africa, a prominent financial services provider operating in Kenya, has obtained regulatory clearance from the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) to oversee Tier II contributions from employers who choose to opt out of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) by utilizing the Octagon Umbrella Retirement Benefits Scheme.

This regulatory endorsement adheres to the NSSF Act of 2013, which was duly authenticated and deemed constitutional by the Kenyan Court of Appeal in February 2023. Section 21 of the Act offers an opt-out alternative for occupational retirement benefits schemes, umbrella retirement benefits schemes, and individual retirement benefits schemes that have received approval and registration from the RBA to receive Tier II Contributions.

Fred Waswa, the CEO of Octagon Africa Group, emphasized the wisdom of employers directing their Tier II contributions to privately managed pension schemes like the Octagon Umbrella Retirement Benefits Scheme. By doing so, employers gain influence over the scheme’s governance through the Committees established in accordance with RBA Regulations.

“We are pleased to have obtained regulatory approval from the RBA to oversee Tier II pension contributions. Our scheme boasts exceptional management, administration, and the potential to generate superior returns for our clients. Moreover, our processes are highly automated,” stated Mr. Waswa.

This significant approval coincides with the Kenyan government’s efforts to deepen and broaden the nation’s pension industry, thereby offering more retirement saving options for Kenyan workers.

Under this arrangement, pension contributions amount to 12% of the pensionable wages, with both the employee and employer contributing 6% each. For employees earning above Kshs18,000 in the initial year of implementation, the total upper limit for contributions stands at Kshs 2,160.

Octagon Africa has a proven track record in delivering pension fund administration and consultancy services since 2007, presently managing assets worth over Kshs.100 billion for more than 200,000 customers. The company specializes in Employee Benefits Administration and Consultancy services.

“We are confident that our proficiency in pension administration, coupled with our innovative solutions, positions us to offer our clients a distinct value proposition in the Tier II pension market,” commented Florence Muchiri, the Commercial Director of Octagon Africa.

Octagon Africa remains dedicated to providing its clients with top-notch financial advice and investment solutions at competitive and favorable rates, and this approval signifies a positive stride in that direction.

Avenue Group and Curalie Health Forge Exclusive Partnership to Revolutionize Chronic Disease Care in Kenya

Avenue Group Limited, a subsidiary of Evercare Group, and Curalie Health Limited, a Kenyan company under Helios Global Health, have jointly announced a new exclusive partnership spanning 12 months. The aim of this collaboration is to lend a helping hand to patients battling chronic diseases, providing them with extended care and support.

This strategic alliance aligns with Avenue Group’s objective of enhancing its telemedicine capabilities and providing digital care to individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension. The partnership sets out to open doors, improve patient outcomes, and keep the costs of treatment for these individuals in check.

As part of the integration, Curalie Health’s platform will be seamlessly integrated with Avenue Group’s existing telehealth services. This integration empowers healthcare providers to remotely monitor and manage the health status of chronic disease patients. Furthermore, the platform will offer personalized health education to patients, reminders for monitoring vital data, and behavior change coaching.

Imran Osman, CEO of Avenue Group, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “The Avenue Group operates a fully integrated healthcare system with the mission of transforming healthcare in Kenya. This partnership is a major breakthrough that stems from the memorandum of understanding we inked with HELIOS earlier this year. It signifies a significant leap ahead in enhancing access to top-notch care for patients grappling with chronic diseases. We are excited to collaborate with Curalie Health in providing innovative, patient-centric solutions to enhance patient outcomes.”

Omron Blauo, Executive Director Africa at Curalie, commented on the partnership, saying, “Our collaboration with Avenue Healthcare is a remarkable achievement in delivering high-quality digital healthcare to chronic disease patients. By combining Avenue’s physical care with Curalie’s remote digital monitoring, our goal is to optimize patient care by integrating technology and traditional healthcare services.”

Daniela Hommel, CEO of Curalie Health, expressed her delight at partnering with Avenue Group, emphasizing the importance of making digital care accessible to more people in Kenya. She stated, “We recognize that sustainable improvements in healthcare require combining digital healthcare services with traditional forms of care. This partnership fits like a glove with our vision of “Providing care on every doorstep, round the clock and around the globe,” enabling us to bring medical care within arm’s reach of a multitude of individuals. This vision is in line with Avenue Group’s patient-centric approach.”

Enrico Jensch, CEO of Helios Global Health, added, “Through this international collaboration, we aim to set a milestone in building, refining, and individualizing healthcare for patients worldwide.”

Massimiliano Colella, CEO of Evercare Group, emphasized Evercare’s dedication to bringing quality healthcare services closer to patients and communities. He acknowledged the growing importance of technology and telemedicine in achieving this mission. Colella stated, “Through our collaboration with Curalie Health, we are excited to leverage digital health solutions to improve access to care for underserved populations in Kenya. We aim to tackle the mounting public health hurdle of chronic diseases head-on and leave a lasting footprint on the lives of patients.

Avenue Group currently operates three hospitals and thirteen clinics, complemented by various homecare and telehealth services, catering to over 430,000 patients annually. Over the past three years, the Group has sharpened its management team, spruced up facilities, and spread its wings, all while playing a pivotal role in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, Avenue Group extended its reach with the inauguration of the Boardwalk Clinic in Kenya. Leveraging the resources of the wider Evercare network, Avenue is undertaking a digital transformation journey by investing significantly in digital healthcare services and knowledge transfer systems for clinical professionals.

Jide Olanrewaju, Business Unit Partner at TPG and its Evercare Health Fund, shared his perspective, stating, “The private healthcare sector in Kenya plays a significant role in healthcare outcomes, providing 52% of all healthcare services.

How to Retrieve Your NHIF Number in Case It’s Lost

Losing your NHIF number can be a hassle, especially if you need it urgently. However, there are various methods you can employ to retrieve your number promptly.

Recently, I found myself in a situation where I urgently needed my NHIF number after misplacing my NHIF card. I had to use the number for salary deductions, so I explored different avenues to obtain it. Among the methods I tried, two were particularly effective: contacting NHIF directly and sending a message to the provided number.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to retrieve your NHIF number:

  1. Send a message to acquire your NHIF number: Compose a message with the format: IDyour ID number (e.g., ID 12345678). Send this message to the shortcode 21101. Shortly after, you will receive a reply containing your NHIF membership number, the last payment month, and the name of your employer (if applicable).
  2. Call the NHIF toll-free number – NHIF Toll-Free Line 0800 720 601: Dial the NHIF toll-free number and request assistance in obtaining your NHIF membership number. The NHIF representatives will be happy to help. While speaking with them, you can also inquire about the nearest location for replacing your NHIF card if you have lost it. In my experience, when I needed my number urgently, the person I spoke to at NHIF was kind enough to provide it to me without extensive questioning. I simply provided my ID number.
  3. Connect through social media: If you haven’t succeeded with the aforementioned methods, you can try reaching out to NHIF on social media. The quickest way to get in touch with them is through Twitter. Their handle is NHIF Kenya, and this method has proven to be quite effective.
  4. Email communication: For those who prefer a more traditional approach and wish to maintain a professional tone, you can contact NHIF via email. Although I have not personally tried this method, it is worth mentioning that due to the high volume of emails they receive, there is a possibility of encountering delays or non-delivery. You can reach NHIF at customercare@nhif.or.ke.

By following these steps, you should be able to retrieve your NHIF number even if you have lost it. Remember to have your identification details readily available for a smoother process.