The Namibian (Windhoek)

7 November 2012

Namibia: Old Law Hampers GIPF Home Loans

‘OUTDATED’ legal constraints in the Pensions Fund Act is stopping the trustees of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) from providing a home loan scheme to civil servants.

The GIPF hinted at the possibility of a pension-backed home loan scheme at its annual stakeholders’ dinner last year. At this year’s event last Thursday, GIPF board chairperson Ellaine Samson told guests she was “afraid” to “disappoint” them.

“While we wanted to have this scheme finalised and implemented during this financial year, and while we made a concerted effort in this regard, we could not implement the scheme,” Samson said. Outdated legal constraints embedded in the Pensions Fund Act made implementation “unfeasible”, she said.

The Act has to be amended for such a scheme to become reality, Samson said, adding that the GIPF has not “given up hope”.

“We are looking at ways of how we can overcome these constraints through requesting exemptions from complying with some of the provisions of the act,” she said.

A dignified living starts with a roof over one’s head, Samson said, adding that the board is working “tirelessly” on the issue.

“We have retained the services of experts with the conceptualisation of products which simply do not exist within our country. We have and will continue to consult our key stakeholders on the ideal solution for our members,” Samson said.

The GIPF trustees, however, managed to increase funeral benefits during the past financial year, she said. Funeral benefits of active members and their dependants were increased from N$5 000 to N$8 000.

Samson said the trustees also approved the establishment of additional funeral benefits for GIPF pensioners to the tune of N$8 000 per funeral.

“These adjustments have to be incorporated as part of the rules of the fund through Namfisa [Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority] for final approval. We will communicate the effective date of implementation once the rules have been approved,” she said.

The pension of GIPF annuitants were also increased by 5% during the year, Samson said.

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