Namibia: Gipf Rolls With the Punches

THE Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) has expanded its services with a mobile office, aiming to reach members of the fund in remote and rural areas.

Residents of villages in rural areas have to travel long distances to get access to basic government and private sector services, which the GIPF has decided to revolutionalise by acquiring wheels.

During the second launch of Pension on Wheels Van last week, the fund's chief executive officer, David Nuyoma, said they have realised some of their members are from remote areas.

"They travel for many hours and in unbearable conditions to access our services," he said.

Going mobile was attempted in 2013 already, but some parts of the country could not be accessed due to harsh road conditions, Nuyoma said.

"It is for this reason that the fund has decided to acquire a vehicle that would not be hampered by any road conditions," he said.

Nuyoma said the fund's 4x4 Pension on Wheels mobile office is better equipped for rough roads.

He said the mobile office will be manned by a team of regional client service consultants, who will be responsible for handling claims, fund rule enquiries, and providing benefit and income statements on a rotational basis.

Nuyoma said due to Covid-19, the fund's biometric verification process has been suspended until further notice.

The GIPF has vowed to enhance its outreach programme by using the fund's social media platforms, member

portal, broadcast and print media.

YEAR-TO-DATE PERFORMANCE

Nuyoma also revealed the fund's year-to-date figures for a year were dominated by volatility due to the pandemic.

As of 28 February 2021, the fund's asset base was recorded at N$134 billion, despite the impact of Covid-19.

This translates to a return of 16,1% for the year until the end of February.

Nuyoma said the GIPF will continue to be a significant player in the local financial industry, and an asset to the country as a source of capital.

The fund's savings are used to fund various developmental initiatives of the economy across all sectors through asset managers, he said.

Moreover, the GIPF is also bankrolling the national budget through its investment in bonds and treasury bills, he said.

Pension benefits have increased from 1 April 2021, which the fund said was in line with inflation.

All GIPF pensioners have received a 3% increase, despite the current volatile economic outlook.

Nuyoma said the fund had to strike a balance between volatile investment returns due to Covid-19 and the need to ensure that pensioners are able to maintain the standard of living they have become accustomed to.

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