Editor's Comment

Retirees deserve better

Government complex.

TO BE a retiree from the civil service or public service in Zambia is often an unpleasant experience. This is because the retirees are associated with misery.
This is because both the Public Service Pension Fund and the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF) take long to pay retirees.
There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel with LASF paying a total of K155,202,808.59 in life pensions and lump sum payments to 3,755 retirees as at December 31, 2019.
LASF says a total of 2,836 retirees have been paid in full, amounting to K86,672,986.11 while 919 members have received partial payments towards their retirement benefits and pensions amounting to K68,529,822.48
Government must be commended for releasing the money, which will partly address the plight of retirees.
LASF should be commended for kick-starting the process of paying the retirees their deserved pensions.
This has eased the plight of retirees, some of whom get into depression arising from delayed payments, especially as they grow older and wonder if they would enjoy the fruit of their labour.
Most cannot stand the delays because they end up starving and failing to fulfil financial obligations, which leads to shame.
While it is laudable that LASF is paying these retirees, it is disappointing that some retirees will not be able to get their monies because of invalidated procedures such as filling in the right forms or presenting bank details.
LASF must therefore endeavour to give priority to those that have been on the waiting list for the longest time so that they don’t miss out on this window.
Efforts must also be made by LASF to publish names of retirees and other beneficiaries in the local media as well as in the respective councils so that they do not miss out on this window.
It is also important for LASF to educate the retirees and other beneficiaries on the procedures that they need to follow in order to access their retirement packages.
Education can be done through publication of brochures, newspapers and special radio programmes during this period.
The time being taken to pay retirees their money is unnecessarily long and this causes so much suffering and pain on these people, who served the nation diligently.
Of the 13,000 retirees, LASF has to date paid only 3,000, which is a drop in the ocean.
Furthermore, the longer it takes to pay, the retirees’ money loses value.
However, the delay to pay retirees may not be induced by LASF but local authorities, most of whom are struggling financially.
If some local authorities can owe their employees salaries for months, remitting the pension contributions to LASF is not deemed an emergency.
LASF must therefore ensure that local government institutions continue to remit contributions to the fund.
Furthermore, LASF must be innovative enough to grow members’ contributions so that over-dependence on the treasury is reduced.
Besides, why should the institution that is supposed to be an investment house rely on government grants to pay pensioners? Weren’t they investing contributions?
A word of caution to the retirees: use the money wisely. It is most likely that in their time of need, many friends and relatives kept their distance. Now that they will hear that the accounts have been credited friends and relatives will move closer.
Some of these will even start giving suggestions on how best to use the money. Be careful. These are hard-earned monies and are unlikely to be had ever again.

Facebook Feed