By: Ludorf Iyambo
90 per cent of members of the retirement fund for local authorities and utility services (RFLAUN) strongly disagree with the 75 per cent preservation of pension funds.
This is according to a recent consultation survey conducted by the retirement fund before the implementation of the Financial Institutions and Markets Act (FIMA), which is still scheduled for 1 October 2022 as promulgated.
According to the survey, five per cent disagree, one per cent is indifferent, another one per cent agree, while three per cent of local authority retirement fund members strongly concur in favour of the current drafted regulations.
The retirement fund has, in the meantime, cautioned its members not to implement any compulsory preservation provisions whilst the decision to be referred to parliament is being prepared and while, at the same time, allowing proper consultations through the parliamentary system.
“It is our hope that the results of the survey conducted and with the outcome as indicated above will further guide the policymakers in terms of the members’ sentiments regarding preservation,” RFLAUN’s Julianus Rukamba said.
He further stated that the results of the survey, which were submitted to FIMA regulator, NAMFISA, will also be made as part of the consultation process with finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi.
“As soon as the final determination on preservation is made, RFLAUN will communicate to the members timeously. Hence we caution members against any hasty decision regarding retirement benefits during this time when no decision has been taken regarding the preservation of benefits,” Rukamba further stated.
The finance minister Shiimi announced on 13 May 2022 that the proposed compulsory preservation of retirement benefits was postponed for the time being.
The minister indicated that the postponement allowed adequate time for broader consultations regarding the envisaged regulation.
RFLAUN submitted the board and member comments to NAMFISA regarding the proposed regulation No: RF.R.5.10. On the submissions, the survey stated that the 75 per cent suggested preservation matters should either be decided by the member as an option voluntarily or by the Namibian parliament as elected representatives of the Namibian people and allow the public to follow the debates and decisions transparently.
The fund further conducted a survey on members’ opinions regarding the proposed compulsory preservation regulation, and the preliminary outcome of the survey shows that among those who think it is a good idea to preserve retirement benefits when exiting a retirement fund, only 16 per cent are positive about it. Meanwhile, 84 per cent are against it.
The survey shows the opinion on preservation in percentage as 38 per cent for no preservation, one per cent for the proposed 75 per cent preservation, three per cent in favour of 50 per cent preservation, five per cent for 33 per cent preservation, while 53 per cent opted for voluntary preservation.
Previously, the Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA), Mahongora Kavihuha, said the government should not dictate how people spend or invest their money.
“We cannot dictate on the foreign investments. We cannot dictate the market or how to conduct it. So equally, workers cannot dictate how to spend their money, how they want to invest it,” said Kavihuha.
According to him, people cannot make decisions that affect other people on their personal feelings on how best they can facilitate the “looting processes.”
“The money you are talking about is workers’ money, and there is no one under this free market that can debate someone’s investments,” he said.