April 10, 2021

Pensioners getting raw deal from pension industry schemes

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Donald Mandizvidza

The pension industry in Zimbabwe has been urged to stop prejudicing pensioners and to do more regarding looking after their welfare.

The Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development has been holding public hearings on the Pension and Provident Funds Bill (HB 17 of 2021). Pensioners used the platform to air their grievances and called out Pension Schemes for allowing peoples’ funds to deteriorate in value.

During the hearings, which ran from 7 to 9 April, most pensioners said the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC), the pension industry regulator, is seriously compromised and should be recused from resolving pension issues.

Most payouts being received by retirees are insignificant and there are growing calls for pensions to be calculated using the consumer basket. According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) the cost of living in the country has shot up to more than RTGS $21 000.

Some participants highlighted that the majority of people whoretire would have reached old age and therefore require more medical attention, which is also very expensive. Illnesses like high blood pressure, hypertension and diabetes affect most pensioners who cannot pay for medical aid. Most participants said they are now relying on their children and some had to come out of retirement to join the informal sector for survival.

Speaking on the same platform, Chairperson of the Committee Dr Thokozani Khupe acknowledged the sorry state that most pensioners are in.

“Most pensioners are living as destitutes, are dying and are not being looked after very well”, said Dr. Khupe. 

She said there are gaps that exist in the current Act and expressed hope that the new one will be premised on the feedback heard from pensioners during the hearings.

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