Features

Putting the pot before the pit

FRANCIS LUNGU,Lusaka

DESTITUTION is one of the major fears workers face before they reach retirement, usually caused by delays by pension schemes to pay pensioners their dues. Many retirees die before they can get paid or incur huge debts following up their cases with their former employers. For many, this prospect creates a nightmare. The media is awash with stories of children taking legal action against organisations or even Government over benefits of their dead parents. Not too long ago, there were unpleasant scenes of retirees crowding the Ministry of Justice demanding to be paid their benefits. Globally, the issue of pensions is an emotive subject, and one that politicians dwell on during campaigns. The reason is simple – pensioners form a large part of communities and society in general. Before the August 12 general election, President Hakainde Hichilema promised that once he was elected, his government would reform the pensions sector to allow workers access their savings before retirement. The rationale is that the workers would then invest their money – build their retirement home or start a business – while they still have strength and the drive to do so. And during a recent live radio appearance, the President assured the nation that he understood the plight of retirees, and that his government would go ahead with the reforms. “We looked at it from the outside [as an opposition]. We are [now] looking from inside,” he said. “I won’t say more but our commitment is to allow pensioners access part of their CLICK TO READ MORE




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