Pensioners in Masvingo have challenged the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to improve their pension payments at an event recently hosted by NSSA at Great Zimbabwe hotel.
Masvingo Pensioners’ Forum chairperson Oliver Dube said NSSA needs to improve their benefits since inflation is chewing much into the pension funds.
“NSSA need to improve our pay outs because the money is now affected by inflation and since January 2019 some of the pensioners have not received their full benefits. Our payments need to be reviewed either on a monthly or quarterly basis.
“We pay rentals and medical bills just like other citizens but we no longer afford to do so because of the poor earnings we are getting which are also affected by the ever-rising inflation,” said Dube.
Dube said the government needs to prioritise the health of the pensioners even if it means allowing them free access to health facilities.
“NSSA should review our medical aid earnings or provide us with free access to medical facilities. As old people we are vulnerable to various diseases and even some of us who got injured during the tenure of their employment find it difficult to cater for their health needs,” added the chairperson.
Dube further proposed that NSSA addresses the lost pension policies of the 2008-09 era by providing pensioners with soft loans which would help them to engage in income-generating projects.
“We also propose that NSSA provide us with soft loans so that we can start our own projects as a way of recovering our lost policies for the period 2008-09,” suggested Dube.
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare professor Paul Mavima who was the guest of honour at the event promised pensioners that the ministry is going to look into the problems they are facing.
“NSSA constructed a mobile clinic that will be covering the whole country and will add more mobile clinics in each region for the pensioners.
“Recently NSSA opened an isolation centre for pensioners in Harare. This isolation centre will be turned to a clinic for the pensioners and providing free medical attention to them,” said the minister.
Minister Mavima also assured the pensioners that NSSA has started to reserve funds that will help pensioners to start their own projects.
“NSSA has reserved US$2 million to help pensioners to start projects of their own and also started negotiations with banks so that unnecessary charges on the earnings are removed,” said Mavima.
Mavima also said that NSSA is going to create a board of members with representatives from both the southern and northern regions as a way of de-centralising the operations of the authority. The board will also ensure communication between the authority and pensioners.