THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has reviewed minimum monthly pension payouts to $3 000 with effect from July 1, 2021, as it rolls out plans to increase the funds to the equivalent of US$60 (about $4 900 at the official exchange rate) by end of the year.
NSSA deputy director (marketing and communication) Mr Tendai Mutseyekwa said before the latest review, monthly payments were pegged at the equivalent of US$25.
Overall, the plan is to adjust to at least US$30 in July, US$40 in October and US$60 by December.
“The last review was in April 2021, when we increased the minimum payout from the equivalent of US$12 to US$25.
Our target was to increase to the equivalent of US$30 in July but the $3 000 amounts to about US$35, which is US$5 above our target.
“The December target of US$60 was informed by ILO recommendations of a minimum daily income of US$2 for someone to survive in the Southern African region,” he said.
“We have a clear roadmap on pension increases, but we are not stopping there as we have come up with measures to augment the incomes of our beneficiaries.
“Next week (this week) we shall be launching a revolving fund to assist pensioners and beneficiaries who are interested in embarking on income-generating projects. This is a microfinance facility that will have a tenure of 18 months with a token interest rate. The loans will initially be disbursed through NBS and POSB, with other banks to follow. NBS and POSB account for just over 70 percent of our beneficiaries, so it made sense to start with them,” said Mr Mutseyekwa.
Plans for a goat farming out grower scheme based in Kwekwe are at an advanced stage, with a model project set to be unveiled in Bindura.
“The Bindura project is meant to be a centre of excellence for those aspiring to venture into goat farming. We are not just looking at providing seed for farmers, but technical assistance and marketing opportunities. NSSA has secured a market in the Middle East where goat meat is in high demand.
“Those who participate in our Boer goat-farming venture will be able to tap into this by marketing their produce via NSSA and will receive their proceeds in foreign currency.”
Mr Mutseyekwa said while NSSA’s mandate was to provide social security through the payment of benefits as prescribed by the NSSA Act, the Authority saw it fit to extend into social security by offering additional benefits to assist its members and Zimbabweans in general weather the current economic challenges.
The NSSA pension scheme was created to co-exist with occupational pension funds, which is why deductions are capped below other pension schemes.
The contribution rate is currently nine percent, split equally between employee and employer.
The nine percent is capped at a pensionable salary that is presently $22 406.
“Following the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 169 of 2021 pertaining to the contribution rates to NSSA schemes, the insurable salary cap is now pegged at 75 percent of the Total Consumption Poverty Line for an average of five persons per household.
“This self-adjusting mechanism enhances NSSA’s ability to be responsive when it comes to reviewing benefits,” added Mr Mutseyekwa.