HARARE, Zimbabwe's National Social Security Authority (NSSA) says it will be increasing the minimum monthly pension pay-out to 80 US dollars from 60 USD per month beginning in October this year, meaning it has failed to meet its target of hiking the pay-out to 100 USD by September this year.

The NSSA had also targeted to increase the payout to 150 USD a month by the end of this year.

Board chairperson Robin Vela said Monday that the increase followed conclusion of an actuarial valuation by a firm called Atchison Actuaries and Consultants. In July, 2015, when the board was appointed, we promised to review the pension upwards, he said in the authority's second quarter update.

I am pleased to report that consistent with this promise, the board approved a 33.33 per cent increase in the minimum retirement pension from 60 to 80 USD per month effective 1 October 2017.

Probably the biggest local institutional investor on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, the NSSA has been criticised for investing pensioners' funds in risky deals after it lost millions in shady deals under its previous management while pensioners were being forced to live from hand to mouth through meagre pay-outs in an economy where the cost of living is always rising

The Vela-chaired board has so far kept its promise to improve disbursements. The NSSA has also reviewed its investment strategy which has so far paid off, after the fund recorded a jump of over 200 per cent in net profit to 116.8 million USD for the year ended December 2016.

Vela said payment of the increased monthly payout had been delayed to allow the pension fund to re-register all beneficiaries using a bio-metric system to avoid payments to non-existent people. The board remains concerned with the authenticity of its payroll, Vela said. With the increased pension benefit amount, it is even more imperative that only the deserving and entitled beneficiaries are paid.

He said the authority would cease to pay pensioners who were not bio-metrically registered by end of September this year.

In the meantime, awareness campaigns are being held to ensure pensioners were up to date with the bio-metric registration process.

Vela said the authority was also considering a separate initiative aimed at weeding out benefit fraud.


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