Windhoek — The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) is concerned about the slow pace at which the Social Security Commission (SSC) is moving to establish a National Pension Fund (NPF) and has urged government to intervene.
The establishment of that fund is provided for in the Social Security Act of 1994, with the primary aim of alleviating total dependence on State funds by formally employed persons during old age, among other benefits.
The NUNW is not happy with the pace at which the SSC is implementing the establishment of the fund, as this perceived lack of progress affects workers.
"It is our feeling that there must be a national pension fund and all pension funds in Namibia must have their members join this national pension fund to help provide this important protection to many of the workers who work as domestic servants, petrol attendants, farm workers, those who work for shops, supermarkets, etc," the Central Executive Committee of the NUNW said in a recent statement.
The fund is crucial in many respects but, principally because it would avail pension funds to all formally employed workers, including those who do not have pension as a benefit at their respective workplaces.
Currently, government spends millions of dollars on the country's senior citizens, through monthly pension grants and the health bill of the elderly.
The NUNW, however, says with a national pension fund such as one provided for in the Social Security Act, the burden of heavily relying on government would ease, while beneficiaries would benefit more than they currently do.
"All these workers when no longer in a position to fend for themselves during old age, are left to the mercy of the government pension payout, which is not enough," the labour movement says.
The SSC, which the NUNW accuses of 'sitting' on the project, said it conducted research for the implementation of the fund in early 2009.
"To date, tremendous work has already been done particularly in ensuring that the current legal framework can adequately support the NPF operations," Rino Muranda, SSC spokesperson told New Era.
"We expect to complete the first few phases of the project, including suggestions on legal framework modifications, before the end of this year," he said.
Muranda described as "unfortunate" suggestions by the NUNW that the SSC is sitting on the project, saying that part of the delay in implementing the project was because there were divergent views by various stakeholders about setting up the fund.
" Consensus-building remains a critical ingredient for the successful implementation of the NPF," he said. The NUNW has implored Government to intervene with a view for a speedy implementation of the fund.
"Government must therefore, as a matter of urgency, call on the Social Security Commission not to sit on this very important national project any longer," the NUNW said.