It was and is with apparent apprehension and diffidence that ministers in the new President’s Government received the call to achieve set targets in the first one hundred (100) days of his presidency.
The targets are aimed at ‘service delivery and production across all economic sectors, at national level and cascading down to the disaggregated ward, district and provincial levels — not just politics’. Except for a few upbeat ministers including Minister Chinamasa, media reports exposed some ministers as being evasive about their 100-day plans of action.
Considering that many of the ministers were senior Government officials and ministers from the former President (Mugabe), or senior Zanu-PF officials, it is not surprising that the ministers in this new Government have taken the new President paradigm shift to a ‘new economic’ era with the apparent trepidation.
Given the legacy of the former President’s predilection for loyalty in Government officials and ministers rather than skilled ones, given that most of them have been co-opted in the new Government (for very good reasons, not least of continuity), and given the things that can go wrong in a given economic sector under such incapable personnel such as exemplified by those things that went wrong for the pension and insurance industries, a performance assessment framework may need to be explicitly adopted in the new President’s office, to ensure that Government officials and ministers in the new Government are up to the job of driving economic growth.
Such a performance assessment framework should cover the case in point pension/insurance industries and all other economic sectors, individually in the first instance. For each sector, the assessment framework should have 100-day plan of actions, with intrinsically built-in deliverables and accountabilities, half-yearly and yearly plan of actions.
The accountabilities should serve to flash out those inappropriately skilled and experienced, in a given sector. The performance assessment framework should then have an overall assessment framework integrating the assessment framework for each economic sector, allowing the President to synthesise and conflate sector performances into a macroeconomic measure such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measure.
Such an overall macroeconomic assessment framework for the President may feasibly be built in a computer application allowing the President to monitor performance real time, as is the case with some of the very competitive businesses in the world.
Ignoring for the moment positions held in various economic sectors by the faction around the former President, a clique controlled by a former long-serving permanent secretary to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) would, for instance, control the pensions and insurance industry through the Board of the Insurance and Pension Commission (IPEC) from the late 1990s until pensioners, pension fund members and insurance policyholders called for a stop to the apparent self-serving by this clique over the period 2009 to 2013.
Several Herald articles and news items attest to this pernicious history of the two industries. In a clear lack of professionalism and/or lack of in-depth knowledge of the roles of the pensions and insurance industries, and how the industries should operate in executing these roles, the administration at the MoF would ignore, and/or was not aware that apart from being conflicted to the regulatory role of IPEC, the clique of IPEC board members lacked the necessary qualifications, skill, experience and professionalism in directing the two industries, in keeping with the industries’ established macroeconomic roles.
This inappropriate state of affairs persisted, well-manicured by the cosy relationships between the MoF administration and the clique. The long-standing relationship, juxtaposed against the equally long-standing inappropriate state of affairs in the two industries palpably suggested clandestine quid pro quo transactions or exchanges between officials in the MoF administration and the clique.
An officer from elsewhere in Government without requisite skill, experience and professionalism in pensions and insurance would be seconded to IPEC as Commissioner in 2005.
As a result of this appointment, in turn driven by the lack of appropriate skill, experience and professionalism at both IPEC and MoF administration, IPEC is to this day saddled by officers who cannot help pensioners, and hence the two industries in general — the latest such IPEC officer having been secured as reported in the Herald of October 24, 2017.
Based on this Herald report, and others, the MoF administration apparently still holds the clandestine interest in so maintaining the inappropriate status quo in the pension and insurance industries.
In the event, a number of things have gone wrong in the pension and insurance industries – not least that insurance companies have dismally failed to calculate rightful benefits due to pensioners thereby prejudicing them – IPEC has not done anything about it despite the cries.
Pension and insurance funds continue to be overcharged and to be defrauded by insurance companies, the very obsolete permissive pension and insurance legislation remain unrevised allowing insurance companies and pension houses to continue defrauding pensioners.
The macroeconomic intermediary role of the two industries have viciously been suppressed, fraudulently diverting billions of domestically saved dollars into the private hands of the managers of insurance companies, and other pension houses.
By any measure, the pension and insurance industries have not performed for the past many years.
- Martin Tarusenga is General Manager of Zimbabwe Pensions & Insurance Rights, email, [email protected]; telephone; +263 (0)4 797020; Mobile; +263 (0)772 889 716
- Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not represent those of the organisations that the author represent.