NEWS that the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco) workers have for a long time been facing problems in securing their rightful pensions raises serious concerns.
Firstly, the board of trustees of the Zisco Pension Fund is curiously absent in articulating the problems of pensioners.
In terms of the Pension and Provident Fund, it is (strictly) Zisco Pension Fund, rather than the chairman of Zisco (the employer) which should have long identified the problems with this Pension Fund; and resolved the issues.
The Pension and Provident Fund Act requires every Defined Benefit pension scheme to realistically establish the value of obligations of such a pension scheme to the pensioners, relative to the value of assets of the scheme. This is an exercise that is required by the Act of Parliament, every three years.
There are measures implicitly required of Defined Contribution Pension Funds by this Act of Parliament to ensure, realistically, that these other types of pension schemes are always solvent and able to meet the Fund’s obligations to pensioners and other members of the pension fund.
If this Act of Parliament was complied with, in good governance, the Zisco Pension Fund pensioner problems would long have been identified and resolved again in terms of the Act.
The chairman of the Zisco board merely raises concern of the problems of pensioners and the fund overall, apparently unaware of the statutory practices that should long have eliminated these pensioner problems.
It could very well be that the chairman of the Zisco board is unaware of these statutory practices, because he is misplaced to make announcements pertaining to the Zisco Pension Fund, the Board of Trustees of the Fund (as an independent institution) being responsible. A savvy pension fund board of trustees should have long used the three-yearly statutory valuations of the obligations of the fund, relative to its assets, to identify the pensioner problems.
The national problem that has been brought to pensioner groups by its members (including some of these Zisco Pension Fund pensioners) is however that employers such as the Zisco board chairman have irregularly (nay, illegally) taken over the control of pension funds, in an apparent process of subverting pension fund boards of trustees.
Quite unaware of the professional way of pension fund administration, the employers overlook professional methods of checking pension fund solvency, and end up engaging malpractices not least (fraudulently) diverting contributions made by pension fund members to finance their faltering businesses, with insurance companies tasked with the administration of the pension funds being complicit with these employers.
Zimbabwe Pensions & Insurance Rights Trust. — firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +263 (024)2 797 020 or mobile: +263 772 889 716.