THE under-fire National Social Security Authority (NSSA) will go through another round of shakeup, this time targeting its regional general managers as the troubled pay-as-you-go pension scheme seeks ways to improve the way it does its things.
NSSA has of late been making news for the wrong reasons altogether.
Its executives have been accused of mismanaging the multi-million dollar pension fund and amassing substantial wealth for themselves while pensioners, who should be their primary focus, are living in abject poverty.
A new board led by investment banker, Robin Vela was appointed in July last year with a specific mandate of cleaning up the mess at NSSA and refocusing the authority towards achieving its main objectives.
In October 2015, the new board made its intentions known when it wielded the axe on five executives, including general manager, James Matiza.
The restructuring has now entered another phase that will see its regional general managers being reshuffled.
The Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets has it on good authority that Vela and his fellow board members are of the view that some of the regional managers have stayed for too long in their current locations and have ceased being effective.
Vela confirmed the pending reshuffle in a statement covering the fourth quarter of 2015.
“The board is now seized with the task at hand to ensure NSSA values of teamwork, delivery, accountability, innovation and ethical conduct are realised,” he said.
“In order to further enhance service delivery, some regional managers will be rotated from their current area with effect from 1 April, 2016. In October 2015, the board begun a restructuring exercise to improve corporate governance, reduce operational costs, improve service delivery, accountability and deliver a higher return on worker’s contributions together with a living pension. The exercise, which started with the retrenchment of five senior managers, remains on course,” he added.
NSSA operates through a decentralised organisational structure whereby provincial general managers report to the head office in Harare.
It manages investments worth over US$700 million and has a balance sheet of US$1,2 billion.
NSSA employs 830 workers, according to an audit report released early this year.
Vela said, in addition, NSSA would encourage about 5,7 million people who have moved to the informal sector, to contribute pensions.
While this may not be mandatory, NSSA is expected to deploy resources towards educating those in the informal sector to save for that rainy day.
“Business as we traditionally know it has changed – the numbers of formally employed and banked have shrunk, while the informal sector continues its rapid expansion,” said the NSSA boss.
“The authority will explore ways to capture the attention of the informal market, getting people who are not saving for their retirement to make such savings, on a voluntary and willing basis.
“A significant number of our beneficiaries are either unbanked or now live in places where it is costly to access banking services. The authority has engaged mobile network operators with a view to using their mobile payment platforms to allow members to receive their pensions at significantly reduced costs. To improve on communications and notices to our members, the authority is pursuing the use of mobile platforms and the board expects the exercise to be completed by end of the first quarter of 2016,” said Vela.
If the project is rolled out, NSSA would join several institutions that have widened their reach to cover the informal sector after realising that billions of United States dollars in potential revenue is lying outside the formal market.
Banks have also been hunting down deposits from informal players.
People in the informal sector sell their products mostly for cash, which is not banked.
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