DISCUSSIONS to incorporate informal sector employees under social protection cover on a voluntary basis have begun, a National Social Security Authority (NSSA) official has said.
Report by Victoria Mtomba
The development comes at a time more than three quarters of the population were directly involved in the sector.
The formal sector employs only 20% of the population due to economic problems that bedevilled the country in 2007\8 resulting in company closures and poor investment.
“We feel that those people who left employment or are unemployed should come and contribute in paying pensions. We have witnessed that the figures are very small, yet the level of unemployment is very high,” NSSA general manager James Matiza said in an interview yesterday.
He said the authority would attend a Sadc meeting scheduled for later this month to learn more on the issue.
Matiza said the main challenge would be on consistency from the informal sector as they might be able to contribute at first, but stop later, posing serious administrative problems to the authority.
“We are carrying out research on the topic through our research unit. We want to introduce national health insurance, maternity protection and then the informal sector,” he said.
Meanwhile, NSSA has engaged a consultant to construct a $10 million shopping mall in Chipinge as investment efforts intensify.
Matiza said the authority was working with a consultant on the construction of the mall.
“We have engaged the consultant and we will be looking at the drawings in the next two weeks to work out how we will handle the project,” he said.
Matiza also said the tendering process for the 680 stands in Masvingo had begun and the stands would be ready for servicing by the first quarter of next year.
He said NSSA paid $2,1 million to Masvingo council to put offsite infrastructure to accommodate the new housing project.
“The progress is not as fast as we would want it to be. We hope we will be able to service the stands by the first quarter of next year,” he said.
The authority is a major investor in companies listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange including First Mutual Holdings, Rainbow Tourism Group and FBC Holdings, among others.