The National Social Security Authority has engaged mobile network operators with a view to using their mobile payment platforms to allow members to receive their pensions at significantly reduced costs.
In a fourth quarter update released last Friday, NSSA chairman Robin Vela said a significant number of NSSA beneficiaries are either unbanked or live in places where it is costly to access banking services.
In most instances, because of the low payouts, pensioners end up with little money as the bulk would have been taken up by travelling costs.
“A significant number of our beneficiaries are either unbanked or now live in places where it’s costly to access banking services and the Authority has engaged mobile network operators with a view to using their mobile payment platforms to allow members to receive their pensions at significantly reduced costs.
“To improve on communications and notices to our members, the Authority is pursuing the use of mobile platforms. The board expects the exercise to be completed by end of the first quarter of 2016,” said Vela.
The move is part of reforms, NSSA is pursuing in order, among other issues, to make its services relevant and leverage technology to attract and accommodate untapped informal sector market and expand its membership base.
Other key messages the new board is pursuing has to do with investments performance.
Vela said in order to chart a new direction and address the shortcomings of past investment decisions, the board resolved to appoint an investment expert to the Investment Committee as required by the NSSA Act.
Fungai Ruwende was appointed as Investment Expert with effect from December 1, 2015 and all decisions of the Investment Committee that do not carry the Investment Expert’s opinion will be explained in writing.
Vela said the board was fully aware that NSSA’s success was heavily dependent on the performance of its investment companies.
He said they had started to engage companies where NSSA invested and directors had been nominated to clearly articulate the authority’s expectations.
“The board will continue to monitor the performance of the these companies, demanding greater transparency and accountability using our shareholder rights. The Authority will institute changes to underperforming boards and senior management,” said Vela.
In response to the tightening macro-economic environment and developments in the capital markets, the NSSA board has been reviewing and exercising prudence by re-aligning to the market, values of its assets including holding values of properties where rentals did not justify holding value, cash deposits where banks have been closed and equity investments where companies have been liquidated.
Vela said the National Building Society project remains on course and its board continues to make progress towards the achievement of a launch date at the end of the first quarter of this year.
He also said NSSA was in the process of implementing its new ICT SAP software system for its business operations.