The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has never failed to pay pensioners their monthly payouts and cannot be blamed for failure by retirees to access cash at banks, a senior Government official said last week. NSSA, a Government-owned pension fund, came under fire during the National Assembly’s question and answer session with parliamentarians criticising how pensioners were sleeping at bank queues, in vain, in a bid to make cash withdrawals.
Zimbabwe, which is using multi-currencies, is facing cash shortages that have been fuelled by the economy’s inability to generate more exports to earn foreign currency. Cash hoarding and externalisation have also been blamed for the shortages. And MPs said the cash shortages were having a toll on pensioners who did not have access to Point of Sale (POS) facilities in the rural areas where the majority of them stay.
But Public Service, Labour and Social Services Deputy Minister Tapuwa Matangaidze said shortage of cash could not be blamed on NSSA but must be directed to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
“NSSA has never defaulted paying its monthly payouts to pensioners. It actually recently increased the pay-out from $60 to $80,” Mr Matangaidze told the National Assembly.
He said use of plastic money “is where the world is moving towards” and pensioners must also be taught how to use the new payment method. Government and other stakeholders must in the meantime also ensure that access to POS facilities was improved to ensure that those who want to swipe are able to do so, he said.
“Use of plastic money actually helps to address the problem of sleeping in queues waiting for hard cash. Preferring hard cash to plastic money is an external problem that should be addressed by the Ministry of Finance,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Matangaidze said NSSA was in the final stages of rolling out its new biometric registration for pensioners which would close at the end of next month. Those pensioners who fail to register under the new system will not receive their monthly payouts until they registered afresh, he said.
“NSSA officials have been going out even to outlying areas on awareness campaigns on the importance of registering under the new system,” he said. –
Source: The Herald