HomeNewsCZI grills NSSA over investments

CZI grills NSSA over investments

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ZIMBABWE’S industrial lobby group has taken the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to task over decisions by the authority to invest in weak financial institutions at a time when the manufacturing sector is in dire need of capital, NewsDay has learnt.

Victoria Mtomba,Business Reporter

Information shows that the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) leadership last week met NSSA officials where they queried the decision by the State-owned compulsory pension scheme authority to invest $30 million in investment bank Capital Bank, which has since downgraded to micro-banking.

NSSA, according to sources that attended the meeting, apprised CZI on its investment portfolio as well as the general state of its finances from 2010-2012.

Responding to the request by CZI, NSSA, through its general manager James Matiza, said the pension fund’s investments were in the equity market and money market, property market and empowerment.

According to a source that attended last week’s meeting, CZI was not happy with the raising of contribution fees by the pension funds as the industrialists felt the investments that NSSA was undertaking were not good enough.

The manufacturing sector, whose capacity utilisation plunged to 39% this year from 44% in 2012, requires nearly $2 billion to recapitalise and become competitive.

“There seems to be a gap between how NSSA is investing compared to the way the industrialists want them to do things,” said an industrialist who attended the meeting.

Matiza, according to a document seen by this paper, told the meeting NSSA’s balance sheet as at 2012 had grown to $706 million from $592 million in 2011.

Before this, the authority’s assets stood at $456 million in 2010.

Matiza said the authority’s subsidiaries include First Mutual Holdings (FMH) in which it has a 51% stake while the company has an 86% stake in Capital Bank. NSSA has interests in several firms listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

“We went into Capital Bank so that we could get access to FMH which is one of the best performing companies in that sector,” Matiza said.

“When you look for the shares of FMH on the market, you will not get them. When we entered into the bank, we got a 32% stake that Capital Bank had and we also received 19% from Econet after it exited the company.

“We invested $30 million for Capital Bank as of December 2012, FMH contributed $176 million on our balance sheet.”

The industrialists also questioned NSSA on how it arrived at increasing contributions for pensioners and what criteria were they using to pay $60 per month for pensioners.

The minimum monthly retirement pension increased to $60 from $40 this year.

Matiza said the minimum that the pension fund pays is $60 per month while the maximum is $1 447 although in between some people get $200, $600 and others $700 depending on one’s contributions.

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