By Daniel Chigundu
THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is reportedly working on increasing its pension payout to pensioners, a Cabinet Minister has revealed.
NSSA has come under fire from pensioners for some time who complain that the authority is busy investing in unprofitable ventures while paying them peanuts.
NSSA is a statutory body established in 1989 with a mandate to administer social security public funds on behalf of about 1.3 million contributors.
The authority administers two schemes: Pension and Other Benefits Scheme and Accident Prevention and Workers’ Compensation Scheme.
NSSA is currently paying a measly pension of around US$60 per month which social economists say is not in line with the prevailing economic situation in the country.
Speaking recently, Labour Minister Prisca Mupfumira revealed that she is aware that NSSA payouts are measly and work has already started to possibly increase it twice before year end.
“On the issue of money, I made a statement earlier on that we have to increase to a liveable pension. It is a process and not an overnight event. NSSA has been around for years and the US$60 was the figure. There is an actuarial evaluation process which will be through by June that will show us where we will get to.
“We are doing an evaluation and I am hoping certainly by September, 2017 we should have not less than US$100. End of the year, I am saying at least US$150. My wish is that we keep on increasing the liveable pension of our pensioners.
“Already, the funeral benefit is functional so we have people’s interests at heart, which is why you saw us changing things in all the areas that NSSA has investments. We have been following them up. We do not want people to pay extra in contributions but they must be paid more,” she said.
Mupfumira added that one of the new board’s objectives is to improve the benefits that the authority is giving out to pensioners.
“I am happy to announce that from 1st April, 2017 we started on funeral benefits for members and whether pensioners. Apart from the US$300 that was being disbursed as funeral benefit, we are now going to be looking at the provision of a casket, transport and all the requirements.
“If you already had a policy, US$500 is immediately disbursed as cash over and above the US$300 that they were being given. It is good enough,” added the minister.