The Herald

Africa Moyo recently in VICTORIA FALLS
GOVERNMENT is concerned with the social security of its citizens and remains committed to creating favourable conditions for the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to continue executing its role of collecting contributions and providing decent monthly payouts to pensioners.

This was said by Labour and Social Welfare Minister Petronella Kagonye in a speech read on her behalf by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mr Ngoni Masoka, in Victoria Falls on Wednesday night during a welcome reception for delegates attending the East and Central African Social Security Association (ECASSA).

The ECASSA conference ran from May 15 to today and was attended by delegates from the eight member countries including Uganda.

“The Zimbabwean Government, through my ministry, is alive to the importance of social security. In this regards, we will continue to create a conducive environment for NSSA to deliver its mandate through ensuring efficiency in collection of contributions, sound investments and providing a liveable monthly payout to pensioners,” said Minister Kagonye.

NSSA has invested in a number of ventures including infrastructure development and buying shares from locally listed firms as a way of growing the pension contributions.

Last year, NSSA increased the pension payout from $60 to $80 to ensure pensioners get a decent living.

Minister Kagonye also told ECASSA delegates to locate avenues of introducing packages that cater for the informal sector, which is growing in most African countries.

She said recent statistics show that the informal economy now accounts for over 90 percent of the working population in Zimbabwe and other ECASSA member countries.

“With that in mind, I sincerely hope that as ECASSA, you will put your heads together in coming up with effective strategies for extending social security coverage to this hitherto vulnerable and neglected sector, especially in order to ensure that women’s vulnerability is reduced.

“I am pleased to inform you that Zimbabwe is taking great strides in ensuring that social security coverage is extended to the informal economy,” said Minister Kagonye.

NSSA is already working on introducing a voluntary social security scheme aimed at benefiting people in the informal sector.

In many countries, available social security schemes only cover employees in the public and private sectors and are on regular contracts.

The majority of casual workers in sectors such as agriculture, domestic, informal and migrant workers are excluded.

Given the low levels of formal employment participation by women, their insurance coverage is low, making them highly exposed to economic vagaries.

ECASSA was formed in 2007 by social security institutions in East and Central African countries with the key desire of working together to improve the quality and effectiveness of social security administration. Zimbabwe was admitted as the eighth member of ECASSA at the beginning of the year.