By: Uakutura Kambakua – Outjo
GIPF has announced a nationwide extension of its footprints in its efforts to reach out to members in remote areas of the country to bring services closer to the people.
In a recent interview with The Villager, GIPF CEO David Nuyoma stated that the Fund opened three new offices at Nkurenkuru in the Kavango West and Grootfontain in March Otjozondjupa region.
He said another office was also opened in Opuwo in the Kunene region due to the high concentration of members within these regions. He also said the Fund would open another office in Mariental in the Hardap region to extend its footprints to all 14 regions.
“The whole idea is to extend outreach and footprint so that our members can access our services in close range,” he said.
The new offices, according to Nuyoma, are equipped to offer pension enquiries, pension advice, biometric registration and verification, benefit and income statements and submission of supporting documents.
Apart from the newly launched offices, Nuyoma said that the Fund has gone further in its outreach by engaging its members through various social media platforms.
“Sometimes we use social media, we use the website, but not all members are proficient or capable of using these facilities; that’s why we are doing this outreach. Some people may be asking why in today’s age where people can use social media, websites and other platforms. We realised in practical terms that members need physical contact. They need counselling; they need to understand our services through person to person explanation,” added the CEO.
He added that the planned Hardap office would be officiated in the Fund’s next financial year from April to July and August 2022. “We foresee plus-minus around July and August probably we would open that. We are already looking for a property there that we can rent or acquire,” noted Nuyoma.
According to the GIPF CEO, the Fund has more than 50 000 members receiving monthly benefits and over 100 000 active members throughout the country, including 4 000 to 5 000 from the Kunene region alone.
“We have those members receiving monthly benefits -/+ 50 000 people and you know in this region, alone we have plus-minus 5000 in Kunene region. Then there are the added members; those still in service are over 100 000. Imagine how many schools, hospitals, clinics, police officers, service members, and government employees are in Kunene, plus other related services,” added Nujoma.
Nujoma further said the Fund has extended loans to members through the pension-backed Home Loan scheme to allow members to use their pension as collateral to buy or renovate property, even in rural areas.
“Those were loans that were extended to members to acquire houses, and we will extend further. There is tension among those who own facilities. We make it possible for members who wish to build their own house in unproclaimed areas by having the pension as a guarantee, which is a major breakthrough for our members. We take their loan, look at the accumulated benefits, and then calculate how much they can use to build a house. For now, that is only for housing reasons. In terms of the pension Fund act, housing is only the allowable provision that members can take to take a loan for the pension fund either as a debt or a guarantee; that’s why we only concentrate on that,” he noted.
Nujoma reiterated that GIPF ‘s investment has made several social-economic impacts as part of its shared value creation strategy.
Among those, the Renewable Microfinance loans (Lima Power, Group Micro enterprises, Solar power ) valued at N$13 million and housing financing is valued at N$11.5million.