15 Apr 2016 12:10pm
WINDHOEK, 15 APR (NAMPA) - Government is planning to establish a National Pension Fund to cater for the many vulnerable people who are currently excluded from pension and retirement fund arrangements existing in the country.
This was publicly announced by President Hage Geingob during his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) and the release of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) in Parliament last Tuesday.
The Head of State said plans for the establishment of a National Pension Fund is part of the HPP, which came into effect on 01 April 2016 and will span the period 2016/17 to 2020/21.
Harambee is a kiSwahili word meaning 'let's pull together' in the same direction.
We will, therefore, operationalise the National Pension Fund during the Harambee Prosperity Plan. In this regard, regulatory amendments will be taken through the relevant governance structures in year-one of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, explained the President.
In an interview with Nampa on Friday morning, the General Secretary of the Union for Institutional and Household Employees of Namibia (UIHEN) Delphia Suxus said her union fully supports plans for the establishment of the National Pension Fund as the fund will cater for the most vulnerable workers towards sustainable development, which allows them to meet their own needs fairly without preventing future generations from meeting their own.
The proposed National Pension Fund will make a great impact because development is not just about economic growth, real development will improve our members' lives. Health and education are all vital to real development and we cannot achieve development without equitable distribution of this addition of wealth an improvement in the well-being of the workers and a structural change in production, said Suxus.
The trade union leader stressed that the proposed National Pension Fund will really add value to the exploited, maltreated and abused workers at the hand of their employers.
We are aiming at achieving trade union contribution and involvement with the new leadership taking into consideration trade unions are formed by workers for workers. All of this is evidence of impressive trade union participation in the process of democratisation. Trade unions must now show that their activities are not limited to democratisation and that they are working for the installation of sustainable democracy.
Echoing the same sentiments on the issue, Chairperson of Social Security Commission (SSC) Board, Johannes !Gawaxab also announced the plan to establish a National Pension Fund (Scheme) at a media briefing held in the capital last month (16 March 2016).
At the time, !Gawanab stressed that in response to President Geingob's call that No one (Namibian) should be left out, the SSC will provide a national pension scheme for Namibians who qualify for it.
According to him, this has been provided for in the SSC Act when it was established in 1994.
!Gawaxab noted that many Namibians do not have pension and retirement benefits, such as domestic workers, taxi drivers, petrol attendants and farmers - probably between 400 000 and 500 000 people.
Only when you retire, you realise how vulnerable you are and you need to have some form of provision. In the olden days, we said our children will take care of us when we get old, but those days are slowly but surely dying out. You need to make provision for your own retirement, so that we also can ease the burden on Government and we can have quality of life after we retire.
!Gawanab made it clear that the SSC will first consult all key stakeholders and social partners as it will require some legislative amendments, key agreements and legal amendments to implement the national pension scheme.
It is a strategic direction that has been articulated by the president that no one should be left out. There are currently 400 000 to 500 000 Namibians who qualify for pension arrangements but who are not included, and we need to include them, explained !Gawanab.