THE proposed National Social Security Authority (NSSA) building society and bank is expected to be operational by August this year, a Cabinet minister has said.
By Ruth Ngwenya
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Priscah Mupfumira told NewsDay Business last week on the sidelines of an International Social Security conference in Victoria Falls that the bank would offer affordable services to the general public.
“Banks exploit people through high interest rates that they charge. They (banks) get money from NSSA and instead of charging 4% they charge 18% when they would have got the money at 7%,” said Mupfumira.
“NSSA has decided to assist directly and provide accessible and affordable building society services to lower markets who are the largest contributors of NSSA like civil servants.”
Mupfumira dismissed claims that NSSA — which currently covers 1,3 million workers — was mismanaging funds and stated that it was embarking on investments that earn profit and the bank was one of those investments.
Mupfumira pointed out that beneficiaries of pension funds lacked knowledge and employers were to blame for that.
“The beneficiaries do not have adequate knowledge on their rights. People who contributed to NSSA in the past, some of them have stopped working, they no longer contribute and relatives of late contributors, are not quite aware of what NSSA has to offer for them,” she said.
“The employers must take it upon themselves to educate the employees on their benefits from NSSA because people do not know. We also urge local authorities, Members of Parliament and councillors to know about NSSA so that they can educate people in their constituencies.”
Mupfumira said NSSA would carry out outreach programmes like road shows which will be implemented immediately, to reach out to the people and explain their rights and benefits.
“NSSA has in the past been communicating with people through the media but we have said of late that NSSA must go out to the people.
“A lot of our people live in rural areas and it is a challenge for them to access information,” she said.
The conference was held under the theme Improving Contribution Collection and Compliance To Strengthen Social Security Financing.