BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
PENSIONERS in various parts of the country are reportedly travelling long distances to access their paltry monthly stipends at banks in cities.
Last Thursday, Finance deputy minister Clemence Chiduwa said government would soon introduce more State-owned banks at growth points to ease the challenges faced by pensioners in accessing their payouts.
On average, Zimbabwean pensioners get around $6 000 per month.
Most of them have to travel long distances to collect their monthly stipends at the People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB).
However, given the high rate of inflation that is currently afflicting the country, much of the money is spent on transport costs.
“As we speak, the government has a policy on financial inclusion, which states that no one should be left behind. For banks which belong to the government such as the POSB and Agricultural Finance Corporation, our policy is that at growth points where people live, these banks should be found. With our policy on digitalisation, which is one of the pillars of the National Development Strategy One(NDS1), we want 100% coverage in the country on the issue of mobile networks,” Chiduwa said.
“We want pensioners to be able to get their money through the phone. POSB has a strategic plan to increase its branches,” he said.
Matabeleland Central senator Kumbirai Tongogara said the Pensions Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament, must address the issue of how pensioners are accessing their stipends.
“The pensions which they receive are not even enough to pay their bus fare back home. The pensioners are in a sorry state and the Pensions Bill must address these issues. When people work, they must know that they will get a reasonable pension.”
President of the chiefs council Fortune Charumbira said: “If a Pensions Commission is set up, we must see it assisting pensioners. There should be a law to ensure that people get their pensions when they retire. Pension money is being eroded by inflation in the country.”