Public Service Pensioners Association (PUSEPA) has said it is excited with what the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe told the nation in Parliament that government, in the 2015/16 budget, has planned to pay all pensioners their arrears to stop their misery which came due to no -payment of their retirement and deaths gratuities, monthly pensions, broken period payments, and any other related payments.
Gondwe promised the House that the budget under discussion had included payment of arrears for all retired civil servants which had been outstanding.
The Finance Minister was Tuesday responding to a question by Chitipa Wenya Member of Parliament, Godfrey Mnkhondya, who asked the Minister to consider paying all retired civil servants their dues that had been outstanding for a long time and causing a lot of miseries to the officers and their beneficiaries.
Vice Treasurer General for the Public Service Pensioners Association (PUSEPA), Warrant Officer Class 11, Stanley Kafere (Rtd), said their organization is happy that government has finally recognized the plight of these retired officers and promised to pay all their dues in the budget under discussion such that by the end of the budget year 2015/2016, there will be no unpaid officer.
“My comment on what the Minister said on paying the people who retired but have not gotten their dues is that we are happy for them because we identify ourselves with them being all of us retired personnel from government,” said Kafere.
But Kafere disclosed that they have also put forward a complaint to the Minister that the gap between officers who retired before 2004 and those who retired after 2004 is too wide and PUSEPA has requested the Minister to narrow it.
“For example, a Principal Secretary who retired in 2004 gets around K100, 000/month while one who retired after 2004 receives K500 000/month, we have, therefore, been appealing to the Minister to narrow the gap, at least those paid less to be closer to their counterparts,” appealed Kafere.
Kafere explained that this is another burning issue for pensioners which the Minister should look into as he is resolving the outstanding payments.
He revealed PUSEPA having met the Minister twice on this matter and, though he had committed to look into the problem, nothing has so come out till now.
Kafere also complained that retired officers are supposed to get the same increment working civil servants get whenever there are such an increments.
“Last year pensioners did not get what working civil servants got (increment), they were given less increment compared to working civil servants. But they were supposed to get the same increment, and that is how it should be,” explained Kafere.
He said currently, there are 28 000 retired officers in Malawi but not all them are members of PUSEPA. Kafere has therefore appealed to those retired officers who have not yet joined the organization to do so because, he said, there are many advantages once one joins it.
Kafere cited some successes his organization has achieved so far. He said PUSEPA has managed to persuade government to abandon its decision, made some years ago, to pay monthly pension to retired officers for up to 20 years only and thereafter, the officers to fend for themselves.
“Government now pays monthly pensions for retired officers for their entire life, and when they die, their beneficiaries are paid a gratuity of 60 months,” said Kafere.
He said pensioners got arrears this year in March because of the differences in computing as there have been changes in pension formula. He said they fought on behalf of pensioners.
According to Kafere, every month they go to Capital Hill to remind government to pay retired officers on time.
“I commend government for timely monthly payments, especially this month, whereby by May 13 or 14, officers had the money in their accounts, we just hope government will continue to do so because most of the months, the pay comes after the due date of 14th,”explained Kafere.
He encouraged pensioners to come to PUSEPA offices and fill membership forms to be members and disclosed that membership fee is only one per cent of one’s monthly pension.
“We need more members to bring in new ideas and strengthen the organization in many aspects,” Kafere appealed. – LINAFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :