Pensioners in limbo. . . Emcoz says in no capacity to fund hike in contributions

Minister Prisca Mupfumira

Minister Prisca Mupfumira

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) says it has no capacity to fund any further increases in pension contributions given the prevailing difficult economic climate.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Mrs Prisca Mupfumira last week announced that the Government has directed the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to increase monthly pension payouts to $100 in the first quarter this year and gradually raise the figure to $150 by the end of the first half.

NSSA is paying out a paltry $60 which has proved to be inadequate for pensioners.

In a statement, Emcoz president Mr Joe Kahwema said while they commended the Government for its good intentions, it was the employers’ hope that such efforts would be implemented in a sustainable manner.

“We commend the ministry for its good intentions and hope they can be implemented in a sustainable manner in this difficult environment. Employers have to say upfront that we do not have the capacity to fund any further increase in pension contributions at this present time,” he said.

Minister Mupfumira is on record saying pensioners’ welfare should be a priority and thus her ministry had since given a directive to the NSSA board to come out with strategies to generate funds that would ultimately see the authority increasing the current pension payout by March 31, 2017.

Mr Kahwema said, “It is our sincere hope that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on these  pension payments so that they do not destabilise the other pension funds and indeed, the entire financial infrastructure.”

Minister Mupfumira said in pursuit of the new investment strategy, NSSA would push for board representations in all the areas it was investing in.

The authority’s investment portfolio includes money market, property, short- and long-term investments in associates and subsidiaries as well as land inventory.

While Minister Mupfumira has hinted that NSSA would actively invest in deserving national strategic projects and the private sector, the Emcoz president highlighted that it was also their hope that the authority would not be directed as to which national strategic projects or private sector enterprises they should support.

“We have confidence in the current board at NSSA and would urge that they be left to operate independently and transparently,” said Mr Kahwema.

Following the directive by Government, NSSA has been reviewing its investment portfolio and will be taking a decision to either dispose of non-performing assets or consolidate its interests in appropriate vehicles.

@okazunga

Article Source: The Chronicle