NSSA payouts remain paltry despite increase

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THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has increased all pensions by an average of 20%, but the payouts remain paltry and far below the average monthly cost of living.

OWN CORRESPONDENT

In a public notice yesterday, NSSA said it had increased pensions with effect from August 1.  Retirement pensions went up to $60 from $40, survivors and invalidity pension and children allowances to $30 from $20 per month.

NSSA said in the  same  period,  new monthly  minimum  pensions  payable under the  Workers’  Compensation Insurance  Fund will  also be  improved  by an average of 20%.

Funeral grants, which are once-off payments, have been increased to $300 up from $200 again with effect from August 1, meaning a pensioner without any funeral cover might not afford a decent burial.

According to NSSA, workers injury pension has been increased to $45 from $30, while pension for widows or widowers has been increased by a paltry $10 to $30.

Children allowances went up marginally to $15 from $10.

Analysts yesterday, however, pointed out that the meagre allowances meant pensioners would continue wallowing in poverty as the cost of living was expected to surge with envisaged price increases of most basic commodities following a slight rise in the price of fuel this week.

The increase in pensions is far below the average monthly cost of living.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, as of May, the consumer basket for a family of six was estimated at $571,51 which is several times higher than NSSA pensions in a country where the poverty datum line for an average of five persons per household also stood at $541 as of March.

In the same period, the Zimbabwe Statistical Office said the national food poverty stood at $34,84 per person. This means an average person in Zimbabwe survives on $1,16 per day.

Pensioners continue to be paid paltry monthly allowances with some getting as little as $40 per month.

The Zimbabwe Pensions and Insurance Rights Trust has been lobbying the government to look into the plight of pensioners citing irregularities in the manner the allowances were awarded.

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