NRZ pensioners earning US$3 monthly pay outs

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By Alois Vinga

RETIRED National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers are receiving a meagre monthly pension pay out equivalent to around US$3 per month despite decades of investing their labour into the growth of the company.

Speaking to Wednesday on condition of anonymity, one pensioner said the National Railways of Zimbabwe Contributory Pension Fund (NRZCPF) is paying out very mean amounts which are wiped out by bank charges.

“Early this year the pension pay outs were increased from around ZW$2 000 to ZW$3 000 which is not even enough to purchase more than US$3.The worst part is that one needs ZW$1 000 to travel to the bank if you are based in urban centres and even much for those residing in rural areas.

“This added to high bank charges makes it senseless to even think of withdrawing the money,” he said.

The pensioner blamed NRZCPF for taking advantage of Statutory Instrument 33 of 2016 which introduced the ZW$ as the sole currency which then began to be used as the basis for paying out pensions.

“So since then, a pensioner who was earning US$400 was automatically paid ZW$400 and despite the changes which took place thereafter we did not factor in,” he said.

He said at some point last year some pensioners were earning as low as ZW$600 and ZW$800.

The pension fund was also accused of claiming that all contributions made before the US$ era in 2009 were eroded by inflation arguing there are more investments like buildings which were purchased before the inflationary era.

“What boggles the mind is that employees working for these pension funds are sitting pretty, enjoying hefty packages from our own sweat,” the source added.

Contacted for comment on the matter, NRZCPF board chairperson, Takunda Madanha did not confirm the US$3 pensions but admitted the pay-outs are paltry.

“I will not comment on the figures being paid out, but we know that the pay-outs are too little for now.  Pensioners also need to appreciate that we are basing the pay-outs on a defined pension contribution scheme under which what is paid for is a result of what one invested.

“There are three factors which contribute to this; your last pensionable salary, the duration of your service and the savings you made,” he said.

Madanha said pensioners need to appreciate that contributions made in the GNU era were much higher which explains the differences in current pay-outs.

“We are however trying to improve the situation by collecting rentals from our properties but again we are dogged by rising void spaces and low rentals which have high defaults,” he added.