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MPs call for pension review

The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has been urged to review upwards the pension payments to enable beneficiaries to sustain themselves.

This call was made in Parliament when the house was informed that the low amount of pension payments paid out to country’s pensioners was unsustainable.

Pensioners receive payouts that range from RTGS$30 to RTGS$80.

During the question and answer session in Parliament, MP for Kambuzuma, Willias Madzimure, argued that the pension payments did not match the current living standards and economic situation.

“When people reach a point where they can’t work anymore, they are supposed to receive pensions as a reward of what they did during their productive years be it in the government or institutions where they worked,” he said. 

“But of late, we have seen the cost of living going up yet we have not seen a corresponding response to the pensions.”

Madzimure said a review of pension payouts should be done each time the cost of living goes up and pointed out some pensioners were living like destitutes.

“There are people who receive RTGS$30 and RTGS$80 as pensions.  Before the price hikes, RTGS$80 would enable one to buy something reasonable but not anymore,” he lamented.

“There should be a provision which allows pensioners to enjoy various benefits such as paying half rentals but this is not happening. There is a vast need to offer cushioning allowances to the elderly,” said the legislator.

In response, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Sekesai Katunhu-Nzenza assured the August House that negotiations were underway with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to review the pension funds upwards.

The minister also expressed concern over the difficulties faced by citizens since the cost of living was constantly escalating.

“I’m concerned particularly with the difficulties experienced by the majority of the people, especially when we look at the price hikes in comparison to their purchasing power,” she said.

“I have been talking to the Minister of Finance and he is in the process of reviewing the pensions upwards in light of the current difficulties that we have.”

Meanwhile Dr Katunhu-Nzenza added that her ministry has held several negotiations with workers through the Tripartite Negotiating Forum.

“The forum has enabled us to have a social platform where employers, government and workers discuss issues of social-economic interest,” and said as a result, workers were given cushioning allowances at the start of July.

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