HARARE, Feb 25– Zimbabwe’s National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has revised its investment policy to align it to existing market trends, says its General Manager, James Matiza.

The NSSA, which was created by an Act of Parliament in 1989, administers social security schemes in the country and has investments in various sectors of the economy including the financial services sector and in real estate.

Matiza told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) here Monday that the review of the policy, which was now awaiting government approval, followed recommendations from external auditors who had found weaknesses in the existing investment policy and procedures.

“The Auditor-General came and examined our investment policy and procedures. They came up with observations,” said Matiza, who added that the audit reports complied by the Auditor-General’s Office, and the global accounting firms of Ernst and Young and Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) all highlighted that the investment policy was last reviewed in 2008.

“The reports indicated that the investment policy was last reviewed in 2008 and it was time that there was another review so PriceWaterhouseCoopers, working with the investments division, went through our investments policy.

“They produced a revised document. We took the revised document to our board committee for investments. They looked at it and then it was taken to the full board, the full board made a recommendation but the authority that approves is the Ministry of Labour and Social Services and in November 2013 we submitted that revised investment policy to our parent Ministry that has not yet come out but the parent Ministry has the revised document.”

Matiza said some of the changes that were recommended included limiting to 500,000 US dollars the amount of investment the general manager can approve without going to the board. He said the NSSA’s investments director could now only approve investments not exceeding 250,000 USD without board approval.

Under the old investment policy, brokers did not have a limited time-frame when they were expected to complete a transaction for NSSA on the stock market.

“That was one area that was raised and after the PwC recommendations that open-ended assignment was caged to 60 days. So if an auditor comes today they will see that if NSSA wants to buy a counter they approach a broker and that broker has 60 days in which to acquire those shares. If 60 days expire before acquisition then we will cancel the mandate and start all over again because if the value of the shares exceeds 500,000 USD it would need board approval,” said Matiza.

Labour and Social Service Ministry Permanent Secretary Ngoni Masoka told the same committee that his Ministry was still studying the revised policy. “I want to acknowledge that the revised investment document was submitted by NSSA and it is at the Ministry and it is receiving attention at the highest level,” he said.