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LASF to pay retirees dues

CHANDA

ROBINSON KUNDA, Lusaka
THE newly-constituted Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF) says it urgently wants to work towards clearing the K331.51 million it owes 3,721 council retirees.
Board chairperson Kingsley Chanda observed that some pensioners have taken  legal action over unpaid benefits, therefore clearing the backlog of pension arrears will be one of  its top priorities.
He said this in Lusaka when minister of Local Government and Housing Stephen Kampyongo inaugurated the LASF board at the ministry headquarters in Lusaka.
“We can’t afford to have thousands of people who faithfully served our nation to be struggling to get their pension after contributing to LASF. The board will submit options to your office before the end of next week so that we deal with this matter urgently,” said Mr Chanda who is a tax consultant specialist and managing director at Ciltax.
He said he is confident that the new board, with support from Government will soon turn around the current gloomy situation at LASF.
Mr Chanda said from 2014 to date, LASF has failed to raise funds amounting to K59.01 million to pay annuities to over 12,000 pensioners.
He said non-payment of retirees has a negative impact on government, retirees and their families.
“So far 160 retirees have sued LASF claiming benefits amounting to K30.91 million. Our task is to ensure that the legal risk is removed. Similarly, we will submit strategies to your [minister’s] office aimed at mitigating this risk and we will plan to engage retirees and their lawyers, through LASF management. I believe we can resolve this,” he said.
He said the policy to close the scheme to new members with effect from 2000 when the National Pension Scheme Authority Act was enacted has been detrimental to the fund as it resulted into increased claims with declining contributions.
“It is an undisputed fact that any pension scheme derives its income from pension contributions and surplus funds invested for growth. For the last 16 years, no new members joined the fund while existing members continued retiring and needed to be paid,” Mr Chanda.

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