THE Lusaka High Court has set July 28 for hearing of the matter in which Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has sued the Government to explain if the amendment to the retirement age of workers in Zambia affects every corporate entity in the country.
The giant mining company wants the State to interpret whether the amendment of the retirement age from 55 to 60 years by the National Pensions Scheme Amendment Act No.7 of 2015, the Income Tax Amendment Act no. 19 of 2015 and the Public Service Retirement Act is applicable across the board to every corporate or employer company in Zambia.
The matter has been allocated before Lusaka High Court judge Ms Justice Anessie Banda-Bobo.
In this case KCM’s head of corporate affairs Akakandelwa Mubiana has asked the Attorney General to interpret whether the amendment of the retirement age from 55 to 60 years by the two Acts was applicable across the board to every corporate or employing company in Zambia because there was no legislation in Zambia which directly provided for a mandatory retirement age which must be followed by all employing entities or occupational pension funds.
In his affidavit in support of summons filed in the High Court, Mr Mubiana submitted that if the answer was in the affirmative, he demanded for a determination of the effective date of revised retirement age in view of the principle of non-retrospective application of amendments to legislation.
He contended that pursuant to the KCM Pension Fund Rules under clause 1.16, retirement age is the end of the month in which a member attains the age of 55 and that the two Acts do not provide for any mandatory application of 60 years on all employing entities or occupational pension funds to apply the 60 years’ retirement age compulsory.
Mr Mubiana contended that neither the National Pensions Scheme Amendment Act No.7 of 2015 nor the Income Tax Amendment Act No. 19 of 2015 could be used to enforce a mandatory application of 60 years on all employing entities or occupational pension funds.
He submitted that in 2014 the State amended regulation 4 of the Public Service retirement age regulations of 2014 to change the retirement age in the public service from 55 to 60 years for members who contributed to the National Scheme Fund.
Mr Mubiana added that the amendment came into force on August 14, 2015 which reserved the right of the employees who were members of the scheme before the coming into force of the amended law or still be bound by the old law.
Whether the members could elect to retire and claim their retirement at the age of 50 to 55 years as per old law or could elect to retire at the age of 60 or 65 years as per new law with the consent of the employer.
Mr Mubiana also contended that the National Pension Scheme Act only applied to members of the scheme who were defined as employees who were required to contribute to the scheme.
He added that the State made a further amendment to the Income Tax Act which amended the retirement from 55 to 60 years for income tax purposes through the Income Tax amendment Act in respect to approval of pension funds for tax purposes by the Commissioner General.
Mr Mubiana submitted that the principal legislation being relied upon to extend the mandatory imposition of the age of 60 to employers and occupational pension fund was the National Pension Scheme Amendment Act No.7 of 2015, the Income Tax Amendment Act No. 19 of 2015.