NSSA expedites informal sector programme as it decries paltry 24% population coverage

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By Alois Vinga

THE NATIONAL Social Security Authority (NSSA) has decried the fact that just a paltry 24% of the working population is entitled to the scheme’s coverage amid plans to expedite a pensions program for the informal sector.

Millions of Zimbabweans are currently failing to qualify for pension subscriptions with NSSA because of rising informal companies which are easily evading subscription with the social authority.

Speaking to media practitioners during the launch of the 2023 Insurance and Pensions Journalists Mentorship Program, NSSA acting general manager, Doctor Charles Shava bemoaned the low coverage choking the nation.

“The rate of exclusion is still high considering that NSSA Schemes currently cover only 24% of the working population,” he said.

“Other challenges bedevilling the authority are that there is depressed performance in capital markets impacting on returns generated from investments.”

Shava said the social insurance pension scheme is widely being perceived as “the pension fund” in the country for pensioners’ well-being as opposed to its design as a safety net which is a huge blow.

“To mitigate the low coverage, work is currently under way for the development of an informal sector scheme which will cater for the marginalised,” he said.

Currently, NSSA has an active contributor base of 1, 4 million members while inactive members are 1,8 million for different reasons. The main scheme pays pensions to more than 200 thousand pensioners.

Shava also revealed that, in a bid cushion pensioners from the obtaining hardships, a number of facilities have since been implemented which include; a revolving loan facility for NSSA pensioners to finance projects for self –sustenance, knowledge transfer model goat rearing schemes for pensioners, partnerships for discounts on groceries among others.

In Zimbabwe, pension administration is done through NSSA, the Public Service Commission (PSC) and private pension schemes that are regulated by the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC).

It is designed to co-exist with other occupational pension schemes thereby providing a primary safety net to augment the main pension income received from occupational pension schemes.