HARARE: Pensioners in Zimbabwe will receive part of their monthly pension in US dollars to cushion against inflation.
The National Social Security Authority (NSSA), a publicly run pension fund under the stewardship of the public service ministry, said pensioners will receive the money through mobile money services or their banks.
“NSSA beneficiaries will receive a portion of their monthly pension in US dollars for June. Beneficiaries with Econet lines will have the choice of receiving the US dollars component through Ecocash or their usual bank accounts.”
Pensioners are the hardest hit in the country’s economic crisis, receiving meagre monthly payouts in Zimbabwean dollars eroded by inflation. Soaring prices and rising inflation means most pensioners can barely afford to eat.
Last year pensioners petitioned parliament, seeking a review of their monthly payouts, saying they live in poverty due to the rising cost of living, inflation and the falling value of the pension in Zimbabwean dollars.
“The monthly pension payouts are our source of income and livelihood. This monthly income is not sufficient to sustain the pensioner, let alone their family. We are living in difficult times, thousands of pensioners are living under the poverty line,” read part of the petition.
Pensioner Veronica Gundano, 74, told TimesLIVE pensioners are struggling.
“The cost of everything has gone up. l can’t even buy groceries or my medication with my monthly pension of ZWL$40,000 [R2,137]. Pensioners are living [in] poverty and we are struggling. Receiving a portion of my monthly pension in US dollars will be helpful, but the government still needs to do much more to lift pensioners out of poverty,” she said.
Economist Victor Bhoroma said pensioners getting monthly payouts in foreign currency was long overdue.
“NSSA has been receiving contributions from its members in foreign currency for some time. Close to 160,000 pensioners are on the NSSA payroll. The majority of these are wallowing in extreme poverty due to high levels of inflation in the local currency.
“As such, the move will help alleviate poverty, cover the gap left void by disintegrated social safety nets and improve buying power for pensioners,” he said.