Source: Pensioners set to get more | The Sunday News June 9, 2019
Debra Matabvu, Harare Bureau
THE National Social Security Authority (Nssa) is presently waiting for Treasury’s nod to effect a review of monthly pension payouts meant to cushion pensioners from the rising cost of living.
Currently, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare — Nssa’s parent ministry — is engaging the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to determine the percentage increase. Nssa, which serves about 180 000 pensioners, has been working on an evaluation survey to come up with an ideal figure.
Principal beneficiaries are presently receiving minimum payouts of $80 per month, while the surviving beneficiaries are being paid $32. The last increase was in October 2017. Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza told our Harare Bureau that the
Finance Ministry has already been notified of Nssa’s intention to upwardly review the payouts.
“We are now waiting for the approval from the Finance Ministry. We have already written to them asking for a review. I can confirm that they will be reviewed although I do not have a definite date. As for the civil servant pensioners, they normally have their review whenever we review the civil servants’ salaries. So they are bound to get another review in July.”
Nssa acting general manager Mr David Makwara could not be reached for comment. The current price volatility and rising cost of living has effectively eroded pension values. Parliament has been lobbying Government to insulate pensioners from soaring prices. Social security was established as a safety net for retirees, but it has seemingly become the main source of sustenance for pensioners as occupational pension funds are struggling. However, Nssa has also not been spared from the tough economic environment.
In 2017, its revenues fell by one percent to US$349 million from $354 million a year earlier, as contributions and premiums declined by 11 percent from US$276,5 million in 2016 to US$247,1 million in 2017.
Premiums fell by 13 percent from US$50,2 million in 2016 to US$44,5 million in 2017 owing to a drop in the number of registered employers from 28 162 to 25 800 due to company closures. Over the years, Nssa has been in the spotlight for failing to look out for pensioners’ interests by investing in unviable projects.
Its investment in the construction of Beitbridge Hotel, where Nssa was allegedly prejudiced more than US$30 million through inflated project costs, is considered as a case in point. The new political administration is, however, working on rehabilitating the institution.
Authorities are presently poring over recent audit findings with a view to coming up with remedial action to improve management of the statutory body.