Personal Loans for Potential Pensioners

By Godfrey Chitalu

DURING campaigns, Bally was very categorical about the happenings at National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF).

He proposed the introduction of personal loans for potential pensioners against their contributions once elected.

For us who followed him methodically and clinically; he was also of the view that providing a loan or midstream lump payment would help workers on the verge of retirement. My appeal now is for the technocrats to fulfill our elected president’s desires.

Currently, NAPSA has no room for loaning clients except PSPF. There is completely no provision for any contributor to ever dream of borrowing from their money! NAPSA has also deliberately put spanners on those who qualify to get a lump sum at 50 or 55 years.

For you to qualify you should have contributed less than 180 times, which effectively is 15 years. How can someone who is 55 contribute for less than 15 years when their average work life is potentially twice as much?

When Bally was making those pronouncements he knew perfectly well the state of our potential retirees. Many Zambians in their 50’s are living a life of financial and aging regret. Pushed by a low life expectancy, multiple ailments, and dwindling resources, there is a need for them to be given a Ballyline.

While NAPSA is busy investing in white elephants, can someone think about the real owners? Denying workers, a portion of their pension while they are still energetic has a negative ripple effect on families they support.

A nation of healthy families prosper. It is better for NAPSA to give out loans to workers with viable business plans than to haphazardly invest in “Ponzi scheme siblings.”

Giving a loan to someone above 50 against their pension makes a lot of sense. They are well informed, mature, and in a perfect position to use money prudently and avoid moral hazards. We don’t want our pension money to be saddled with inflation risk while waiting for paltry but senseless monthly packages.

A major question, therefore, is the extent to which our pension schemes protect workers. Now that we have a New Dawn Government (NDG) there is an urgent need for all to pull in one direction. Workers should be allowed to borrow against their contributions as part of the preparation for retirement.

NAPSA must be strictly monitored on how they use our money; they don’t inspire any confidence, their lavish expenditure is an open secret, fiduciary standards are missing, transparency is opaque and administration is dysfunctional.

The author is a social commentator who writes for pleasure.

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