Pensioners can't bargain for grant increases: NCCI

23 Feb 2014 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 23 FEB (NAMPA) – The cost of living is rising much faster than the inflation rate, and pensioners will be affected as they did not receive an increase in their pension grant this year, an NCCI official has said.
Namibia of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Head of Research and Advocacy, Leonard Kamwi told Nampa on Thursday pensioners' 'consumer baskets' are thus affected, describing it as an 'unfortunate thing'.
He noted that the elderly are not in a bargaining or negotiating position like Government servants.
Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila announced last Wednesday there will be no increase in the old-age pension grant for the 2014/15 financial year.
She said this while tabling the N.dollars 60,28 billion National Budget in the National Assembly.
The pension grant thus remains the same at N.dollars 600.
“The reason from government's side is that once they increase the old-age pension, than it is difficult to retract it.
“What we have seen in this budget is that 16 percent of it is going to State-owned enterprises (SoEs) and next year the finance ministry can decide to cut it. But with old-age pensions, once you increase it than it has to be adopted in future,” said Kamwi.
He said not increasing the pension grant, does not really do much to decrease poverty in the country.
However, the line minister has said poverty levels have improved through channels which help with poverty alleviation such as grants to orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), pension pay-outs, and making primary education free.