By Tinashe Makichi
Government has directed the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to increase monthly pension payouts to $100 in the first quarter of this year and gradually raise the figure to $150 by the end of the first half. NSSA is currently paying out a meagre $60 which has proved to be inadequate for pensioners.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira told The Herald this week that NSSA had been tasked to seriously consider improving the welfare of pensioners.
“We understand there are several investments which were made by NSSA in the past, some of which failed to materialise while others are doing quite well.
“However, as Government we are of the opinion that the $60 which is currently being paid out to pensioners is not enough and something must be done to address the situation,” said Minister Mupfumira.
“We have since given a directive to the NSSA board to come out with strategies to generate funds which will ultimately see the authority increasing the current pension payout by March 31, 2017. This has to be done because pensioners’ welfare should be a priority.”
She added that the payouts should be increased to $150 by the end of the second quarter.
Minister Mupfumira said in pursuit of the new investment strategy, the authority would push for board representations in all the areas it was investing in.
“We have seen that NSSA has been losing a lot of money in investments where they just invested and never bothered to monitor. Therefore, it is high time that there must be a representation of NSSA in boards of all investments which they made,” she said.
NSSA’s investment portfolio includes money market, property, short and longterm investments in associates and subsidiaries as well as land inventory and deals referred to as other investments .
Following the directive by Government, NSSA has been reviewing its current investment portfolio and will be taking a decision to either dispose of nonperforming assets or consolidate its interests in appropriate vehicles. Minister Mupfumira also said NSSA would actively invest in deserving national strategic projects and the private sector.
“It is quite critical that NSSA invests in deserving projects and private sector companies because by doing that we will be creating further employment that will boost pension contributions,” she said.
In pursuit of improving convenience, reducing costs and leveraging technology, NSSA has begun a campaign to migrate pensioners to mobile payment platforms. – The Herald