NSSA seeks to improve pension payments

Business Reporter
The National Social Security Authority has engaged mobile network operators with a view to using their mobile payment platforms to allow members to receive their pensions at significantly reduced costs. In a fourth quarter update released last Friday, NSSA Chairman Robin Vela said a significant number of NSSA beneficiaries are either unbanked or live in places where it is costly to access banking services.

In most instances, because of the low payouts, pensioners end up with little money as the bulk would have been taken up by travelling costs.

“A significant number of our beneficiaries are either unbanked or now live in places where it is costly to access banking services and the Authority has engaged mobile network operators with a view to using their mobile payment platforms to allow members to receive their pensions at significantly reduced costs.

“To improve on communications and notices to our members, the Authority is pursuing the use of mobile platforms. The board expects the exercise to be completed by end of the first quarter of 2016,” said Mr Vela.

The move is part of reforms, the state owned company is pursuing in order, among other issues, to make relevant its services and leverage technology to attract and accommodate untapped informal sector market and expand its membership base.

Other key messages the new board is pursuing has to do with investments performance.

Mr Vela said in order to chart a new direction and bring the lacking stakeholder satisfaction with previous investment decisions, the board resolved to appoint an investment expert to the Investment Committee as required by the NSSA Act.

Mr Fungai Ruwende was appointed as Investment Expert with effect from December 1 2015 and all decisions of the Investment Committee that do not carry the Investment Expert’s opinion will be explained in writing.

Mr Vela said the board is fully aware that NSSA’s success is heavily dependent on the performance of its investment companies.

He said they have begun various engagements with investee companies and directors have been nominated to clearly articulate the authority’s expectations.

“The board will continue to monitor the performance of the investee company boards, demanding greater transparency and accountability and using our shareholder rights. The Authority will institute changes to underperforming boards and senior management,” said Mr Vela.

In response to the tightening macro-economic environment and developments in the capital markets, the NSSA Board has been reviewing and exercising prudence by re-aligning to the market , values of its assets including holding values of properties where rentals did not justify holding value, cash deposits where banks have been closed and equity investments where companies have been liquidated.

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