Compensate pensioners, policy holders: Senate

MIDLANDS Senator Lillian Timveous has introduced a motion in Senate which calls for government to craft a regulatory framework that will deal with compensation of pensioners and policyholders whenever irregularities in the country’s financial policies arise.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The debate on the motion began in Senate last week and raised issues of pension and insurance schemes prejudicing pensioners and policyholders by taking advantage of gaps in insurance legislation as well as inaccurate calculations and record keeping, thereby disregarding the welfare of pensioners.

“Pension and insurance legislation must be urgently reviewed in order to eliminate loopholes that have been exploited to prejudice policyholders and pensioners,” Timveous said.

“New regulatory approaches must be introduced in order to cater for the interests of pensioners and policyholders before the end of this year. The Executive must urgently implement recommendations of the Justice Smith Commission of Inquiry on Pensions and Insurance benefits,” she said.

Timveous said the United States dollar-pensions, which have now been translated into RTGS$, were still being calculated from the same actuarial valuations.

“It is very unfortunate because even the pension increases that the minister mentioned last week will not help. We are all going to be pensioners one day and let us make laws that protect the elderly in our society so that they can live better lives.”

The MDC Senator said the elderly were suffering, adding that old people’s homes got only $700 financial support from government in 15 years.

Bulawayo Metropolitan senator Gideon Shoko said it was sad that the pensions and insurance issue was investigated during former President Robert Mugabe’s era, but the issue had not been resolved to date.

“When that report by Justice Smith came out, it was clear that these companies needed to compensate us pensioners. But up to date, we have not been compensated,” Shoko said.

Harare Metropolitan Senator Theresa Makone said it was sad that pensioners’ money earned in US$ was written off, yet insurance and pension companies had used their money to construct buildings, whose rentals they were enjoying.

“Surely, the people that were contributing at that time should be beneficiaries of any incomes that are accruing from those buildings. It would be a travesty of justice if government did not step in to ensure something is done about this,” Malone said.

Harare Metropolitan Senator Elias Mudzuri urged members of the Executive to be present when motions pertaining to their ministries were being debated in Parliament.

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