20 September 2017

Zimbabwe: 'No NSSA Payouts for 27 900 Pensioners'

Pensioners not registered under the new National Social Security Authority (NSSA) biometric system will not receive monthly payouts beginning next month when the authority increases allowances from $60 to $80 per month, it has emerged.

About 27 968 pensioners on the pay roll have not registered under the new system. NSSA has captured about 156 700 pensioners countrywide.

Public, Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said the honeymoon was over for people who did not deserve to receive pension payouts.

"The biometric registration of current pensioners is ending on September 30," she said. "Any new contributors will, however, be allowed to register, but when it comes to payment of pension, only those vetted will benefit. "We are encouraging all those genuine pensioners, who are yet to register, to visit our respective centres and register."

She said no one outside the registers would be paid. "From October 1, NSSA will increase pension payouts based on people who will be registered," Minister Mupfumira said.

"NSSA had outreach programmes and teams that were moving around registering deserving beneficiaries. "We want to move away from paying deceased people or non-existing people.

"There are about 27 968 people who are not registered and come the 30th of September, they will not receive any benefits if they are not registered biometrically.

"They might not be aware, ghosts or could have been double counted."

She added: "We are cleaning up so that we pay those that are genuine and this can see a reduction in the wage bill. We also want to improve the benefits of our pensioners and this clean-up is necessary."

Biometric registration involves capturing of one's unique physical attributes such as fingerprints, DNA, iris and retina pattern. Some people had been withdrawing benefits for people who died long back.

On the increase in pension payouts, NSSA board chairperson Mr Robin Vela said: "We agreed on that a while ago and they will be increased from October 1." NSSA expects to increase the pension payouts by 30 percent and targets to reach $100 beginning next year.

NSSA payouts are pegged at $60 per month, which is equivalent to what pensioners who live outside cities and towns are using for bus fare and related travel expenses to get to the bank. The authority was established through an Act of Parliament to facilitate a social security scheme for all employees on retirement.

It collects monthly employee contributions and is supposed to invest the money on the equity and money markets, and real estate to be able to pay contributors decent pensions.

There have been widespread calls for NSSA to increase its pension payouts, which have been considered to be too low by the beneficiaries.

But analysts have always warned of the need to strike a balance between increasing the pension payouts and ensuring the continuation of the pension scheme, which could collapse if the payouts become unsustainable.

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