Harare, (New Ziana) – The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has set aside $492 million for the next four months to purchase groceries for the pension fund’s nearly 300 000 beneficiaries to lessen their burden with access to food in light of Covid-19 induced hardships.
This follows a realisation that the meagre monthly payouts of $1 000, which are currently being reviewed, cannot sustain the pensioners and other beneficiaries.
The multi-million fund has for years been criticised for enriching executives, splashing funds on loss making ventures, while its owners struggle to make ends meet.
NSSA chief executive Arthur Manase said the grocery allowances were among a host of new benefits the fund had mooted, outside the monthly payout, to try and make life bearable for beneficiaries.
“In the interim, cognisant of the hardships that pensioners and other beneficiaries are facing due to Covid-19 pandemic, ….NSSA will, therefore disburse a total of $491 838 523 in grocery allowances to its 228 932 beneficiaries between March and June 2021,” Manase said.
“Going forward, NSSA will be implementing a self-adjusting mechanism on insurable earnings, which is expected to improve the contributions income, thereby allowing the authority to review benefits payouts in line with changes in the economy.”
According to figures provided, this amounts to between $1 200 and $1 950 which the beneficiaries will get in March, in addition to the monthly payout.
The grocery scheme will be implemented pending finalisation of an actuarial valuation, expected to be concluded mid-March, whose goal is to see by what percentage the current monthly payout can be increased.
NSSA runs a pension as well as an accident prevention and workers compensation scheme, which targets mainly those who suffered injuries at work that prevent them from working again.
Manase said other none-monetary benefits that were being explored included support for income generating projects and farming out-grower schemes, discounts at participating shops, waiver of bank charges, a revolving fund for retirees and pensioners as well as assistance with medical care.