Zim’s pension industry in crucial meeting

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PHILLIMON MHLANGA IN VICTORIA FALLS

The Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds’ (ZAPF) congress which coincides with its annual general meeting, roars into life today (Thursday) at the Elephant Hills Hotel.

The flagship event will run up to Saturday under the theme, “Retirement savings in an uncertain economic environment”.

At least 450 delegates are expected to attend. Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is the keynote speaker. Speakers are the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange chief executive officer Justin Bgoni, Insurance and Pensions Commissions (IPEC) acting commissioner Blessing Kazungura and Benjamin Sithole of Old Mutual Group.

ZAPF director general Sandra Musevenzo told Business Times yesterday that this year’s event is coming at a time when the pensions sector is facing a plethora of challenges including the erosion of pension savings, 2 percent intermediated transfer tax, high expense ratios and pensions savings protection.

Musevenzo said ZAPF has engaged the Ministry of Finance and IPEC on the 2 percent tax which has seen the sector players being taxed. According to the tax laws in Zimbabwe, pension players should be exempted from taxation.

“The importance of this congress is for our members, who are the pension funds in Zimbabwe to discuss the issues facing the industry today so that we can map the way forward on how we can deal with these challenges or impediments” Musevenzo said.

“So, we meet here as captains of industry from the bankers, asset managers who are managing our monies, pension funds administrators, the regulator, the Insurance and Pensions Commission, the Ministry of Finance and so forth. So you find out that this conference involves everyone in the industry to try and address the challenges we face
such as the erosion of pension savings.”

She said pension savings were being eroded again and the industry is now calling for another Commission of Inquiry although the recommendations of the previous Commission have not been implemented.

“We are somehow going back to the same problem. As an industry we want to see how best we can map the way forward on this issue. Our members  are already saying there is another commission which is brewing as far as the exchange rate and savings are concerned,” Musevenzo said.