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Nssa petitioned over meagre payouts

Local News
THE National Social Security Authority (Nssa) says it is struggling to provide sufficient pension cover to beneficiaries to alleviate their plight.

THE National Social Security Authority (Nssa) says it is struggling to provide sufficient pension cover to beneficiaries to alleviate their plight.

On Monday, pensioners told Parliament that they were wallowing in abject poverty, citing measly payouts from Nssa despite years of contributions.

Nssa Pensioners Advocacy representative Denford Mangwiro said pensioners had no money for healthcare, basics including for transport to visit banks every month to withdraw US$50 they receive from Nssa.

“Pensioners are starving and their legal dependants are failing to access reasonable health services and their dependants are being chased away from school and failing to pay school fees which is contrary to section 75 of the Constitution on the right to education and section 76, the right to health care,” Mangwiro said.

“Pensioners have been denied their right to decent accommodation too.”

In response, Nssa acting general manager Charles Shava told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Affairs that the pensions body had not been spared by the harsh economic climate.

“On the challenges raised, Nssa has not been spared by the downturn and upturn of the economy,” Shava said.

“We are trying to address these and make sure the pensioners get the benefit of their contributions.

“Nssa contributions are very small compared to other deductions on one’s payslip. You can only get a Nssa pension if you already have an occupational pension, which goes for 20%.”

With Zimbabwe’s food basket ever increasing, pensioners and their dependants are some of the country’s poorest.

An equally unpredictable economic climate, rampant inflation, including pricing of goods in United States dollars and profiteering have all contributed to making their survival difficult.

“Our pensioners are demanding immediate pension relief. For the past two years, we have been revising our payouts from January 2022 to about September 2023 every month taking into account the inflation that was going on,” Shava said.

“We only review our payouts upwards once we feel we have enough resources.”

Public Service secretary Simon Masanga said: “At one point, Nssa used to pay a minimum pension of up to US$100 and we saw that figure falling to around US$30.

“We are now growing back from between US$30 and US$40 a month to the current figure of around US$50 a month.”

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