Wednesday, 19 September 2018

$30 MILLION PENSIONS UNCLAIMED

About $30 million is lying idle in unclaimed pensions as close to 50 000 pensioners have not been collecting their monthly pension pay-outs, an Insurance and Pensions Commission (Ipec) official has said.

Ipec public relations officer Lloyd Gumbo last week said the insurance sector regulator was now working on publishing a list of the beneficiaries adding a system to access the pension’s database was also being developed.

“As Ipec we have requested a list of pension fund beneficiaries who have not been claiming their funds or their money. We have requested the list and have since been given some of the names but not all of them.

“They are still compiling so what we intend to do is to make it easy for these beneficiaries to be able to access or know that they have benefits that they have not claimed. We intend to publish the names of all the people who have not claimed their dues,” Gumbo told journalists in Mutare on the side-lines of Pensions Awareness Day commemorations.

The number has since gone up from the $25 million that was lying idle in the first quarter of the year after 24 000 pensioners failed to collect their pension pay-outs, Gumbo said Ipec was conducting awareness programmes around the issue.

“The figure has gone up. These people are now almost 50 000, who have not been claiming their money which amounts to about $30 million which has not been claimed.

“We are also working on a system that will make it possible for someone to check on our website for their benefit status. This is happening in other countries like South Africa,” he said.

The unclaimed funds are presently being kept in a “Guardian Fund.”
“The money is put into what is known as a Guardian Fund then eventually used for national infrastructure development projects if five years lapse without the money being claimed,” he said.

According to Gumbo some of the unclaimed funds belong to immigrant pensioners who have since gone back to their home countries.

“The most common case is with Malawian and Mozambique nationals who went back to their home countries. The Mining Industry Pension Fund has even followed some to their countries so that they can come back and claim their pensions.

“In other instances there are Zimbabwean employees who have even forgotten about the pensions,” he said.

The National Social Security Authority’s (Nssa), which administers pensions, recently increased pension pay-outs from $60 to $80 yet pensioners are still facing difficulties in accessing the money on the back of Zimbabwe’s cash shortages.

A Nssa official recently said some of the unclaimed funds belonged to pensioners who failed to register with the social security agency’s biometric system last year. — Financial Gazette

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