THE National Social Security Authority (Nssa) has retrenched close to 200 workers as part of its restructuring exercise which began in October 2015, board chairman Robin Vela has said.
By Hazel Ndebele
The move, Vela said, is aimed at helping the authority lower operating costs as well as to ensure that it offers better pension pay-outs.
Speaking at the Institute for Sustainability Africa (Insaf) 2017 Shareholders and Investors Forum Vela said the retrenchments would help deliver a better pension to its clients. He said When his board was appointed, Nssa had 930 employees but the number has however been reduced to 740.
“Nssa currently has 740 employees, down from 930. This has helped the authority cut costs as well as be better placed to pay and offer better pensions since the pensioner is a priority to the authority,” said Vela.
The Nssa board, which was appointed in July 2015, inherited a myriad of issues including poor investment decisions, weak internal controls and massive revenue leakages among others.
Vela said it was imperative that Nssa attracts investors through good management, including adopting unpopular decisions.
On investments, Vela said the authority had made many bad decisions but had learnt from the mistakes.
“Nssa has lost a lot of money (in bad investments). There is no single indigenous bank that Nssa did not invest in. It is well reported and well covered, but the fact of the matter is that we need to learn,” he said.
“None of us at the board are rocket scientists but all we are saying is we need to take the lead and go back to basics. Take Nssa back to basics and do what we know should be done with all the experience we have.”
Nssa has over US$1,3 billion worth of assets under management.
Vela said his board made a decision that it is going to be an active shareholder in all its investments while also encouraging all shareholders including minority shareholders to be active in its investments.
Nssa recently announced that it will increase its minimum retirement pension benefit by 33% from US$60 per month to US$80 per month with effect from October 1 2017. Vela said the increase is the first in a decade and the authority hopes it will make a change to the pensioners who are struggling to make ends meet.