Sunday Mail Correspondent
PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima has authorised the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to increase benefits pay-outs by up to 21 percent to meet its target of paying a minimum pension equivalent to US$60 at the auction rate by January 2022.
In a statement, NSSA general manager, Mr Arthur Manase, said pensioners under the Pension and Other Benefits Scheme (POBS) will receive a 21 percent increase, while those under the Accident Prevention and Workers Compensation Scheme (APWCS) will get a 20 percent raise.
“Based on the advice we received from our actuaries and recommendations from NSSA management, the Honourable Minister has authorised NSSA to increase the POBS pension by 21 percent, subject to a minimum of $6 000 retirement pension with effect from 1 January 2022.
“Those under the APWCS will receive a 20 percent increase across the board, subject to a minimum of $7,000,” said Mr Manase.
Early this year, NSSA set a roadmap to bring minimum payments to the equivalent of US$60, which is based on the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) estimates that a person in southern Africa requires at least US$2 a day to avoid falling into poverty.
Towards this, NSSA in April reviewed minimum pay-outs from the equivalent of US$12 to US$25.
“This was later reviewed to US$35 in July before settling at US$45 in October. Pensioners were also awarded a bonus as a 13th cheque in December 2021.
Apart from the periodic reviews, NSSA resorted to non-monetary benefits in its quest to improve the welfare of pensioners.
“At the beginning of the year, we promised to prioritise the welfare of pensioners by coming up with innovative ways of augmenting their income. While we are doing all we can to improve the monthly pensions, we know that social security pay-outs will never be adequate, not just in Zimbabwe, but globally. That is why we are working flat out in seeking partnerships that are beneficial to pensioners, our partners and NSSA as a business,” said Mr Manase.
Among the additional benefits that NSSA pensioners can now enjoy are zero bank charges for pensioners who bank with NBS and POSB.
The two banks account for over 70 percent of NSSA beneficiaries. Pensioners who bank with the two can also access a revolving facility for income generating projects, which has been available since July.
The facility offers pensioners with bankable projects a loan of up to 10 times their monthly pension, payable over a minimum period of 18 months at a concessionary interest rate of 10 percent.
Mr Manase said negotiations with other banks were at an advanced stage.