Sunday Mail Reporter
Pensioners under the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) are set to receive a $10 000 grocery stipend and cushioning allowances this month to shield them from the rising cost-of-living.
In a statement on Friday, NSSA general manager Mr Arthur Manase said the once-off payment will be staggered within the month.
“Although we run a social security scheme, which is meant to complement pensioners’ receipts from occupational pension funds, the reality on the ground is that NSSA is now the primary, if not the only, source for pension for most retirees,” he said.
“As a result, a lot of pressure is placed on NSSA to assist its pensioners and beneficiaries, particularly during this exceedingly difficult phase we are going through.
“All NSSA beneficiaries can look forward to a once-off grocery allowance of $10 000 this month.
“In addition, we will be awarding them a cushioning allowance equivalent to one month’s pension while we are going through the approval process to adjust pension levels accordingly.”
NSSA’s minimum monthly retirement pension pay-out is pegged at US$70 payable in Zimbabwe dollars at the official exchange rate.
Earlier this year, it undertook to automatically adjust pay-out levels in line with movements of the official exchange rate, subject to a sustainability and affordability test as assessed by actuaries.
Mr Manase said the authority was being hamstrung by low contribution rates.
“A comparison of the contribution rate to the NSSA pension scheme with similar schemes in the region indicates that NSSA has one of the lowest contribution rates,” he said.
“For instance, Tanzania is at 20 percent, Ghana is at 18,5 percent, Kenya and Zambia are at 10 percent compared to NSSA’s contribution rate of 9 percent.”
It is also believed Zimbabwe is the only country in the SADC region with a social security pension scheme with an insurable earning ceiling.
Further, the scheme’s minimum retirement pension of US$70 is currently the highest in the region compared to US$50 in Kenya, US$44 in Tanzania, US$15 in Burundi and US$13 in Rwanda.