Govt could treat pensioners better: Masarira

LEAD president Linda Masarira urges government to assist pensioners
  • Masarira says pensioners should get allowances in cash, without deductions
  • Politician urges government to decentralise pensions payment system

LEAD president Linda Masarira on Tuesday urged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to pay pensioners their allowances in cash, adding that the payment system should also be decentralised, Zim Morning Post can report.

Masarira emphasised the point at a meeting her party held with RBZ Governor John Mangudya this week.

“We told Mangudya that pensions should be paid in cash at various growth points around Zimbabwe because the RTGS has impoverished them even more.

“When they go to the shops they are quoted two prices; one for cash and another for electronic payment, which is unreasonable,” Masarira alluded.

She further said pensioners were being left even poorer whenever they went to collect their allowances as transport alone now surpassed their monthly earnings.

“After realising the impact of hyperinflation on the pensioners, we saw it fit for the governor to decentralise the payment of pensions as a way to reduce transport costs for the senior citizens,” Masarira said.

The outspoken former trade unionist further said the issue multiple tier pricing  on one product had caused untold suffering on the mostly vulnerable senior citizens.

“Pensioners must get their money in cash and without the many inexplicable deductions that they are currently being levied by banks and NSSA” Masarira lamented.

Masarira’s comments come at a time pensioners have complained about the unclear deductions whenever they collect their allowances from banks.

Speaking to Zim Morning Post, one widow said they always got obscure deductions ranging from ZWL35 to ZWL45 every month.

“Last week, I went to the bank and received ZWL140 from the ZWL180 that was credited to my account, while ZWL35 dollars was deducted by the bank as service fee, leaving me even poorer,” said the widow.

Another woman said she had travelled from Rusape to Harare to collect her pension allowance, only to be given ZWL25, meaning she was left unable to raise money for the bus ticket back to the village.

In November 2019, government increased allowances for pensioners by 65% but pensioners still complain that the allowances were still way below hyper-inflationary levels.

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