Don’t confuse social protection with occupational pensions – NSSA

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By Alois Vinga

THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has implored members of the public not to confuse social protection with occupational pensions.

The calls come on the back of complaints by members who believe that NSSA is not doing much to cushion them from post-retirement hardships despite years of contributions during their working lives.

But addressing the press Friday night, NSSA Acting CEO, Doctor Charles Shava urged stakeholders to appreciate the role of social security as opposed to occupational pensions.

“Social security is a basic human right designed to reduce extreme poverty and loss of income due to sickness, injury, old age or death. Consequently, NSSA was established to provide a safety net for working Zimbabweans and their dependents in the event of any such risks occurring.

“However, during one’s working lifetime, an individual is expected to join and contribute towards other occupational pension schemes where there is a wide range of packages that are commensurate with one’s capacity,” he said.

He underscored that occupational pension funds are therefore the primary retirement pension, with social security designed to provide a modest cushion that will augment income pensions and other savings.

“Therefore NSSA is not classified under the occupational pension schemes and cannot be interchangeably referred to as the same in any conversation. I implore the media to appreciate this difference and clearly articulate it for the benefit of the public,” he said.

Shava revealed that NSSA has kept its feet hard-pressed in fulfilment of its obligations to cushion pensioners from hardships.

“NSSA has been religiously disbursing payouts by the 13th of every month for every qualifying beneficiary without fail. To that end, NSSA is determined to alleviate the plight of pensioners and beneficiaries and hence continuous measures are implemented, and these include periodic US$ payouts and regular upward review of ZWL payouts to track the official bank rate.

“This is in addition to a raft of non-monetary benefits such as zero bank charges with selected banks and discounted groceries,” he added.