Opinion

OPINION: Politicising The National Pension Scheme

A problem shared, is a problem solved. On our page, we push for mature politics of development over divisive regional politics that have encroached out minds.

Why has government failed to honour its pension claims? Is it just the Patriotic Front government or this emanated from the MMD government? This is a Zambia economic crisis issue and has little to do with the Patriotic Front, as a party.

Frustrated pensioners, are calling for regime change, hoping that a UPND led new government would prioritise their fate. But can Mr. Hichilema truly address this issue as Head of State when his private firm, Saturnia Regna Pensions Fund has swindled Zambians of over K2bn?

Munakupya Hantuba and several other prominent businessmen, including the vocal Mr. Hakainde Hichilema have been named in a controversial shareholding structure of Africa Life Financial Services, Menel Management Services and Benefits Consulting Services Ltd, companies which are behind the management of the private pension Fund.

The Board of Trustees has been calling for an Annual General Meeting in an attempt to change the Fund managers, and yet Mr. Hichilema, the champion of pension reforms, has not been seen to be in the forefront securing the fate of the poor pensioners in his private firm but wishes to assure a thousand civil servants that he will prioritise their fate as Head of State.

Let us address the real pension issues by acknowledging the fact that what Zambia needs is to address economic issues that have led to the Central Bank depleting the country’s Foreign Currency reserves. How can you pay pensioners if you can’t manage poverty reduction priorities?

Ensuring sufficient resources for retirement today encompasses a complex set of decisions involving assumptions on asset returns, interest rates, inflation rates, longevity and future salary growth. And this is what Cabinet has focused on.

With inflation potentially residing on some perpetual increase, pension funds should increasingly be looking to invest in real assets like infrastructure and real estate to hedge against the threat of rising prices. This negative backdrop is being played out against an environment where the corporate governance responsibilities of institutional investors and pension funds is being questioned and challenged.

This comprehensive Pension Fund Strategies discussion should address many of the current pension issues from the asset and liability perspectives to give an ordinary Zambian a holistic appreciation of the complex issues involved, without being political.

We may not agree with President Edgar Lungu on many issues, but his pronouncements on the pension regime has helped us understand the complex world of Pension Investment Strategy across a number of areas including:

• Understanding the global pensions crisis beyond Zambia.
• The role and purpose of pension funds. And,
• Benchmark timing and tactical asset allocation which has eluded us for years.

What Zambia needs, is a new governance system that must prioritise development over political hegemony. We have spent too much time politicking at the expense of development. Mr. Hichilema cannot solve the current impasse, he is just politicking. Let’s objectively face this issue as Zambians.

©Zambia Reports 2019.

17 Comments

  1. Sosa

    Ba Chris pig why are you so sick about Mr Hichilema and not your fellow easterner one Chang lu who has plundered our economy due his reckless financial mismanagement?
    Your ass is on fire.

  2. Magaba

    Typical of upnd no time to reason and argue their point if any just insults who can vote for you

    • Mapesho

      If insults were votes, I am telling you upnd would have formed govt by now. Bamu nshebwa , just like their leader.

  3. Herv Rena

    What annoys Zambians is that money for by elections is always available but pensioners continue dying without enjoying their money.Even suppliers never retrieve their moneys.Its sad.

  4. xxx

    chris pig y are u so quiet about lungu’s issue of smuggling mukula useles reporter lungu has done us so much harm buying a jet while we are dieing of hunger useles president

  5. Lass

    Development comes from change of government most of the times. New government, New policy making hence development.

  6. Ok

    It’s a happy 2020 to all.

  7. Curtis

    Chris p,why are you so sceptic with HH ? The man is so smart and has never failed in his endeavors. Definitely what

  8. Curtis

    Chris p,why are you so sceptic with HH ? The man is so smart and has never failed in his endeavors. Definitely what type of comparison are you using ? How could you compare the government to a private firm? It’s like comparing a cow to a chicken, which does not exist in any mathematical curriculum.Get back to your books . The man has got capacity to develop the country just like any other person.It is for this reason that the late president FTJ appointed to work with him as a consultant and the late Michael data as an ally . Unless you are telling us those two big guns where not thinking. For your own sake this is 2020 we demand that those ministers who illegally held offices to pay back what did not belong to them. What is the problem? Con court ruled, now we tend to wonder how independent our judicial system is.Let’s be pragmatic.

  9. Frank Chombela

    An AGM is compulsory under the Companies Act. So I don’t know wht u are talking about here. Secondly, u ought to realize that whn an economy isn’t doing well, even pension funds underperform because they also need counterparties to do business with. If those counterparties do not do well, pension funds also get affected. We need more flexibility in pension funds management. For example, we need bridges in many places. Why not allow a pension fund to build some and then toll them? A bridge is a piece of real estate the same way an office complex is.

    • Frank Chombela

      Further, the benefits a bridge brings go beyond the income or revenues that would flow into the coffers of the developer who would toll it. It would facilitate economic activity in surrounding areas thus spreading benefits. This is wht is known as the multiplier effect in economics. It’s not easy to calculate it exactly but in economics life is normally about approximations.

  10. Jms

    It takes a Wise person 100%knowledge on pension skill management, while outside government but he will champion it when in government and will be a nation saver.

  11. Tee

    Zambians are concerned about the massive theft in pf. You have no problem deducting a worker’s contributions during his time in office, but becomes a problem and takes decades to pay him when he leaves office. It is all because of misappropriations and thieving as cited in financial reports. It is only under pf admin where pensioners have gone as far as plot1 to pray for payment but all in vain. HH will fix things right

  12. Rev. Henry Lunda.

    My friends, I would love to see all of us entering into this new year with fresh and clean minds: free of insults, focused and patriotic!
    The economy is crippled indeed, and it needs all of us to lift it up through coordinated ideas, but we are busy pointing fingers at ourselves. We are all Zambians, ànd when Zambia is sinking we ought to be be collectively ashamed!
    Zambia can make it, but the problem lies within our selves. In stead of being a productive nation, we have decided to make it a luxury heaven! We hàve big brains who can turn this country into a respected nation, but what they end up is coming up with drainage type of ideas like forming up of Authorities, Regulatory bodies, and many other useless money draining bodies. They enjoy drawing large sums of money from our already poor government . I can give an example on the roads issue. In the past we had only P.W.D. in charge of construction and maintenance of roads! Today we have the ministry, the office of the permanent secretary, the R.D.A. and finally the Zambia National Service or our friends from China tapping money from the Government on a very simple job of grading a feeder road.
    At this time Zambia is too young to have too many supervisors. China has no regulators and India has no time nor money to wast on those bodies, that’s why they are able to sell out toys! Let us first all become productive, let the Government remove all forms of tax on every one in the production and manufacturing of Zambian products using 100% Zambian material.
    Some of the institutions which need to re considered are: Energy Authorities, let ZESCO run it, and the domestic installations be surrendered back to the local councils. TAVETA and the teaching council of Zambia are of no use, we have well trained hard working men in the ministry of education who can run schools and colleges professionally if left in disturbed. The Communication Authorities! What for, let ZAMTEL and Zampost remarry and take charge of Mwembeshi hearth station and all communication towers, and let all other providers pay to them.
    RATSA. Let the officers be integrated into the traffic section of the police, and let the licencing go back to the local councils. The money collected from toll gates should direct go to the ministry of transport.
    Even the water regulators are not necessarily at this moment of crisis .We might need them in future, the money spent on them can help local councils provide clean water to its residents.
    I know the spirit of a Zambian is always wanting to be an observing boss, not a woker.
    Let us all work together to re buid our Nation and be supportive to those with constructive ideas, regardless of any artificial barrier.
    One Zambia, One Nation! The only Christian Nation in the World! Let us màken Zambia a supper power, it has all it takes to be so

    • Jah rules

      Thank you so much sir,,I conquer with you,100%,,,truely you are a son of this soil,,,mother zambia

  13. Maano

    Lies, lies , and lies! How is it possible for an individual to own a pension trust fund in Zambia – under which Law? Lies, lies , and lies! Pension schemes in Zambia are not-for-profits that are 100% owned by Member Individual Participants. Pension schemes are collective investment schemes for social insurance. Trustees Elected by Individual Participants govern those retirement plans. So, however could they be controlled by an individual Non- Member, however powerful that person could be? Lies , lies , and lies!

  14. The One

    If Saturnia Regna translates into what I’ve heard on the grape vine, ie “satan reigns or rules”, I sincerely submit that we have absolutely nothing to do with that organization, as a Christian Nation.

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