NSSA raises minimum monthly pension pay-out

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The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) said it will be increasing the minimum monthly pension pay-out to $80 from $60 per month starting from October this year.

The development however, effectively means that the authority has failed to meet its target of hiking the pay-out to $100 by September this year.

NSSA had also targeted to increase the payout to $150 by the end of this year.

Board chairperson Robin Vela said the increase followed conclusion of an actuarial valuation by a firm called Atchison Actuaries and Consultants.

“In July, 2015, when the board was appointed, we promised to review the pension upwards,” he said in the authority’s second quarter update.

“I am pleased to report that consistent with this promise, the board approved a 33,33 percent increase in the minimum retirement pension from $60 to $80 per month effective 1 October 2017.”

Probably the biggest local institutional investor on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, NSSA has been criticised for investing pensioners’ funds in risky deals after it lost millions in shady deals under previous management, which was living large.

Pensioners on the other hand were being forced to live from hand to mouth through meagre pay-outs in an economy where the cost of living is always rising

The Vela-chaired board has however so far kept its promise to improve disbursements.

NSSA has also reviewed its investment strategy which has so far paid off, after the fund recorded a jump of over 200 percent in net profit to $116,8 million for the year ended December last year.

Mr Vela said payment of the increased monthly payout had been delayed to allow the pension fund to re-register all beneficiaries using a bio-metric system to avoid payments to non-existent people.

“The board remains concerned with the authenticity of its payroll,” Vela said.

“With the increased pension benefit amount, it is even more imperative that only the deserving and entitled beneficiaries are paid.”

He said the authority would cease to pay pensioners who were not bio-metrically registered by end of September this year.

In the meantime, awareness campaigns are being held to ensure pensioners were up to date with the bio-metric registration process.

Mr Vela said the authority was also considering a separate initiative aimed at weeding out benefit fraud. – New Ziana

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