BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) says it has lined up a cocktail of incentives to improve pensioners’ incomes, including removing bank charges.
Nssa deputy director for social security Tambudzai Jongwe said the incentives were being negotiated.
NSSA, whose investment portfolio is valued at $30,48 billion, has a diverse property portfolio comprising industrial, commercial, residential, medical facilities and land banks earmarked for future development.
NSSA has often been accused of abusing pensioners’ funds.
“We noted that the significant portion of the pension we are giving to pensioners is being chewed by bank charges,” she said.
“We are in the process of negotiating with banks to ensure that NSSA can support a zero bank charge facility by investing a certain amount in these respective banks so that our clients enjoy and get their pensions in full and this is at an advanced stage. So, this is something that will come very soon for our pensioners,” Jongwe said.
NSSA revises pensions quarterly.
Currently, pensioners are receiving between US$35 and US$45 per month for the pension and other benefits scheme and the accident prevention and workers compensation scheme.
This is paid in Zimbabwe dollars at the prevailing foreign currency auction system exchange rate.
However, Jongwe said this figure would be reviewed to US$60 per month by end of 2021, in line with World Bank benchmarks.
“We are on a journey as I said. We are moving towards ensuring that we have adequate provision with regards to social security and the authority seeks to progressively increase the figure to US$60 by end of this year in line with the World Bank poverty datum line that states that a person should not live below US$2 minimum per day,” Jongwe said.
Non-monetary benefits include a 10% discount for pensioners at selected Spar retail outlets countrywide.
NSSA has also organised a revolving fund with the National Building Society and POSB Bank, where pensioners get loans to finance various income-generating projects.
“After noting that most of the money that we give our pensioners goes to groceries, we thought it best to ensure that we cushion our pensioners so that the pension that we give them buys more.
“So, we have partnered with Spar supermarket and our pensioners can now enjoy a 10% discount at selected Spar outlets.
“We have also set up a revolving fund facility where pensioners can access loans through two banks at the moment which are NBS and POSB so that pensioners can start income-generating projects so that they boost their income,” Jongwe said.