Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NSSA ‘looting’ riles labour, employers

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has said the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) needed to be dissolved as the compulsory pension scheme had been a feeding trough for politicians.
NSSA is in the eye of a storm after it sponsored a national disabilities day event to the tune of $66 000 which was held in the constituency of Labour and Social Welfare minister Petronella Kagonye. NSSA falls under the ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
ZCTU general secretary Japhet Moyo told NewsDay yesterday dissolution of NSSA was the only way out of the mess.
“Government should dissolve NSSA as it is not helping workers. Politicians are taking turns to milk NSSA,” he said.
“They are failing to fund ZCTU and ZFTU (Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions) May Day celebrations telling us there is no money to fund registered organisations which represent workers, but can fund political activities.”
Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe president Matthew Chimbghandah said developments at NSSA were disconcerting, adding his organisation would express its displeasure to Kagonye.
Chimbghandah said NSSA should not be dissolved as it was created for a noble cause.
“It’s interference by politicians which is a serious cause for concern. Ministers are finding it easy to dip their hands into the funds. They should respect the purpose for which NSSA was created,” he said.
The Emcoz boss said they were going “to communicate to the minister to express their concern. We are going to write to the minister”.
“Ministers come and go but NSSA will stay. It’s a statutory not a political body. It’s worrying that the minister who is supposed to protect NSSA is arm-twisting it to achieve her objectives,” Chimbghandah said.
NSSA was created through the National Social Security Authority Act (Chapter 17:04) of 1989. The legislation empowers the minister of Labour and Social Services to establish a social security scheme for the provision of benefits to or in respect of all employees as may be specified in the notice and may in the like manner amend or abolish any such scheme.
The Act established NSSA to administer every scheme and fund established in terms of this Act and advises the minister on all matters concerning the operations of schemes and on matters relating to social security in general
Economist Prosper Chitambara said the developments were a mirror image of what was happening in government.
“The fortunes of NSSA are intricately linked to the fortunes of government,” Chitambara said.
He said NSSA played a critical public good role, an extension of the welfare state model.
NSSA has investments in banking, insurance, hospitality and property sectors. Its investments have surpassed $1 billion. The authority has also been accused of making bad investment decisions such as building a hotel in Beitbridge. The hotel was leased to Rainbow Tourism Group which later pulled out saying the venture was loss-making.
Moyo said labour had in the past told NSSA that its investment priorities were wrong. He said NSSA had a budget of $2,4 million for corporate social responsibility programmes which have been benefitted successive ministers.