The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has asked the Tonse Alliance-led to waive conditions for the administration of pension funds as one of the measures to mitigate the suffering some Malawians are going through after losing their jobs due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
CDEDI acting executive director Sylvester Namiwa believes waiving conditions of the pension administration would enable employees to access their funds for domestic use as most families are slowly dripping into economic shutdown due to the pandemic.
Namiwa, in a statement issued on Tuesday, emphasizes that while his organization commends the government for scaling up Covid-19 preventive measures to contain further spread of the disease in Malawi, they are concerned with the serious impact some measures have had on some quarters of the society, particularly the private school teachers and workers in the hospitality industry.
He observes that since the government ordered the closure of both public and private learning institutions on March 23 2020, and allowed partial operation of some hospitality institutions, many private sector employees have been rendered jobless.
“As we commend government for making sure that teachers in the public institutions are getting their dues, on the contrary, teachers working in private institutions and some workers in the hospitality industry stopped getting their salaries in March, and others in April, 2020. This means that these people do not have any source of income to feed their families and let alone pay rentals when their funds are lying idle at the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM),” Namiwa says in the letter.
“CDEDI is therefore calling upon government to allow Malawians to immediately access all their pension money including employer contribution which can only be accessed after retirement age under section 64 of the Pension Act and employee’s own contribution which can only be accessed after 6 months from the last employment as per section 65 of the Pension Act.
“It is a known fact that the circumstances we are in at this moment, are neither the teachers’ fault, nor are they the employers’ fault. The government is only taking precautionary measures by protecting the citizenry, as stipulated in section 13 of the republican constitution,” he adds.
Namiwa has also commended the government to introduce mandatory measures on usage of face masks when accessing services in all public institutions in a bid to contain further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says it is encouraging that commercial banks and some shop owners have adopted the same mandatory measures on usage of face masks.
However, Namiwa has asked the government, commercial banks and shop owners to ensure that no one is denied such services due to lack of face masks.
“It should be observed that the introduction of the preventive measures meant an outright job and business cut to many people, so it will be more or less like an insult to ask the very same financially strangled people to buy a mask in order to access public services which in most cases are essential. CDEDI is therefore appealing to all public and private institutions, including commercial banks to make available face masks right at their doorstep to all the underprivileged people that are seeking service provision but cannot afford to buy the masks. We are also appealing to the government to consider using some of the funds that have been set aside for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to buy the face masks to be distributed in all the public institutions,” he pleads.
CDEDI has also reiterated its position that government should endeavor to come up with some home grown approaches in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, and that it should avoid the implementation of the copy and paste kind of preventive measures that will only succeed in pushing the poor into an early grave.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :