15 February 2013

Namibia: Namfisa Asked to Find Arbitrator in NAC Pension Holdup

THE Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) has requested the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) to appoint an arbitrator in the case of delayed pension payouts to former Namibia Airports Company (NAC) workers.

The GIPF and NAC had reached a deadlock in the appointment of the arbitrator, and that is why the matter was referred to the sector regulator, GIPF corporate communications officer Elvis Nashilongo said yesterday.

Isack Hamata of Namfisa said the GIPF had made the request on February 4, and Namfisa had started looking at potential arbitrators.

"While having regard for the issue at hand, kindly note that due to the delicacy of the matter, a suitable person has to be identified, approached, engaged and then appointed. The process of appointing a suitable arbitrator will therefore not be an overnight process," Hamata said.

Hence, he said, there was no timeframe in which the appointment would be made, although Namfisa hoped it would be as soon as possible.

GIPF's Nashilongo said the pension fund had proposed an arbitrator last year, but the NAC did not want to agree to the person.

"The reasonable thing for us was to approach the regulator; now the control is out of our hands," Nashilongo said. "The GIPF has done everything it could to finalise the matter."

He could not say why the NAC did not want the arbitrator, but it is clear that this holdup has caused a delay in the pension payouts to those who were laid off during the NAC's restructuring process.

The NAC did not have a response to The Namibian by yesterday afternoon.

Retrenched NAC workers threatened with eviction from company houses said they would not be able to pay for accommodation because their pensions have not yet been paid out.

"This delay caused by the NAC is unacceptable. We are suffering," a former worker said yesterday.

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