NSSA defies economic odds

National Social Security Authority house

HARARE – Despite a difficult trading environment, the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) has succeeded in growing its asset base by 41 percent since the new board came in three years ago, the Daily News can report.

According to a presentation made by Nssa general manager Liz Chitiga to the Zimbabwe Mining Investment Conference held last month, the total assets for the pay-as-you-go pension scheme grew from $917,302 million three years ago to the current $1,297 billion.

This represents an average growth of 41 percent over the three-year period.

Investments income, being interest income and dividends has also increased by 119 percent from $22,755 million to $49,861 million.

Due to increased investment income, a reduction in operating costs (including cleaning up of pensioners’ database through a biometric registration exercise) and increased collections, the authority’s net surplus for the three years from 2015 until 2017 has increased by 760 percent to close at $168 million (unaudited 2017).

The authority also recovered over $180 million arrears from government, which were paid in the form of Treasury Bills.

On the back of increased investment income as well as increased collections, the authority was able to increase its minimum monthly pay-out to pensioners by 33 percent in October 2017.

Nssa’s minimum pension pay-out of $80 compares favourably against what other players in the industry are offering.

Over and above this, the authority also paid for the first time in the history of its existence, a 13th cheque to all pensioners in the month of December 2017.

Nssa has borne the brunt of negative publicity for some time, largely on the back of “bad” investment decisions.

The media has been awash with issues that Nssa has raised in its investee companies, such as ZB Financial Holdings, Turnall, Starafrica corporation, just to mention a few.

However, what is often cited as evidence to this claim are legacy issues, dating back to pre-2015 when the current Nssa board assumed office.

The then Public Service minister Priscah Mupfumira appointed a board to run the affairs of Nssa in 2015.

The new board instituted a forensic audit, which unearthed malpractices which claimed the scalps of the previous executive management.

A new management was appointed in June 2016 and tasked with a mandate to change the perception of the organisation, instil a new culture of accountability and performance as well as to be responsive to the needs of key stakeholders — the pensioner.

In line with this, stronger corporate governance practices were instituted by the board on management, and management in turn began demanding stronger corporate governance practices in its investee companies. – Daily News