GOVERNMENT should quickly institute investigations into the goings-on at the Public Pension Service Fund to ascertain the gravity of the financial scandal involving retirees’ benefits.
It is incredulous that the board held eight meetings in a month and all with commanding allowances and costs at the expense of retirees. This conduct is unconscionable and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.
It is unfortunate that board membership has been turned into an occupation from which members earn a living rather than serving members who sacrifice in the hope of reaping benefits at the end of productive service.
But this is not the only problem at PSPF. The Government should be interested to know how some board members were getting loans and why some board members could volunteer to perform duties on gratis only to charge at the end of the work.
It is important that Government corrects the maladministration at PSPF because failure to do so is perpetuating a vice that may eat into the very capital that the institution is supposed to create for retirees.
Elsewhere in the world pension funds are a source of investment capital which have seen tremendous wealth being created.
Retirees expect that the money being saved will be invested in the most productive manner possible to enable them lead reasonably comfortable lives as they age, but this is only possible if investments accrue benefits that will adjust to inflationary trends.
At the moment the pittance that pensioners are receiving are not worth the effort many of them make to travel to urban centres to collect them.
The board should be in the forefront of devising and innovating ways in which the money invested will make a difference to the retirees who may have no other source of livelihood apart from the pension.
It is equally disappointing that civil servants are made to wait for a long time and sometimes suffer all manner of inconveniences to receive their meagre pensions having worked for the public service until their retirement age.
This suffering is unacceptable and a violation of basic human rights of a former worker.
We are happy that in the new Constitution no worker who has retired would be removed from the payroll until the full benefits have been paid.
It is because of such laws which call upon institutions such as the PSPF to up their game so that they meet the expectations of retirees.
This means prudent use of resources for timely payment of dues to the beneficiaries.
We know management will soon come up with a statement to justify their actions, but can it convince a retiree who has been trekking to the Pension House offices year after year.
The management should realise that the K2.5 million in sitting allowances could have removed so many retirees on the waiting list.
This is not to say board meeting are insignificant. They are important for policy direction of an institution. However, they should never be used for planning how to legally ‘‘milk’’ an institution.
It is from this premise that we are calling on Government to act in the interest of the retirees.
Probably the culture of frequent board meetings has not ended and someone is planning to have as many as 100 sittings this year.