Zimbabwe: Low Pensions Force Workers to Resist Retirement

LOW pensions payouts by both private and public sectors to workers has forced many to shun retirement.

Some workers have reportedly gone to the extent of misrepresenting their dates of birth to postpone retirement from the organisations they would have served.

What makes it worse is that the ongoing hyperinflation and which is eating into incomes as well as very low remuneration by both private companies and the government.

In some instances, workers who have reached pensionable age die at work due to health related issues caused by aging and stress.

MDC Alliance leader Douglas Mwonzora told NewZimbabwe.com that pensioners were receiving too little money for survival.

"Pensioners are receiving funds that do not make sense at all. The plight has been worsened by high inflation rates and prices that are skyrocketing day by day," said Mwonzora.

"The packages are so low that people are deeply depressed thus resist going on retirement as they would have served for more than 20 years and received a package that can not buy them half the basic commodities a normal family may want to use for just less than a month."

Zimbabwean pensioners, including but not limited to former teachers, have raised numerous complaints with the government in recent years.

Public Service minister Paul Mavima, said his ministry has been asked to negotiate with local authorities to reduce or waive taxes that pensioners are required to pay.

"We will be doing necessary consultations," Mavima said recently.

Harare East MP Tendai Biti also raised the same issue in Parliament as he debated the Pensions and Insurance Amendment Bill.

Biti claimed last week that "at least US$9 billion worth of pensioners' funds has been lost in the past eight years alone".

He said insurance companies are collecting contributions in United States dollars but repaying the pensioners in the eroded Zimbabwean dollar.

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