Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: GIPF Increases Funeral Benefits

The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) has announced an increase in funeral benefits for members and dependants backdated to December 2012.

Recently appointed CEO, David Nuyoma told reporters Wednesday that at a meeting held on 21 September last year, the Board of Trustees recommended an amendment to the fund's rules for the purpose of increasing members' funeral benefits.

As a result, benefits for deceased members who were still in active service have been increased to N$8000 up from the previous N$5000 while members who die after retiring will also receive the same amount. The later increase will come as a great relief to retired members who previously did not enjoy any funeral benefits from the fund.

Other changes will see the deceased spouse of a member getting N$8000 in benefits up from N$5000. A deceased member's child above one year will also now get N$3000, up from the previous N$1000 while a member's child below the age of one will get N$1000, a 100% increase from the previous amount of N$500, the same as a member's still born child.

Nuyoma said the review and subsequent increase of members' benefits is in line with the fund's objective of maintaining a market related benefit structure. He said: "We are therefore happy to announce that the fund did not only increase the existing funeral benefits but the whole structure has been overhauled to allow pensioners who were not receiving these benefits in the past to participate."

However, Nuyoma said "the inclusion of our senior citizens is only applicable to pensioners who have retired from the fund and does not extend to their dependants as is the case with active members."

With the increase and the inclusion of the fund's senior citizens, the fund estimates that it will spent around N$8 million per year in funeral benefits after spending N$3.6 million in the last financial year.

The GIPF says it remains in a sound financial position to afford such a review of benefits after its market value soared to N$55 billion at the end of September 2012.

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