Government has so far paid out just above N$1 billion in old age pensions the Ministry of Labour has revealed.
According to figures released by the Ministry this figure is N$200m short of what was paid in the 2013/2014 financial year.
Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Senior Labour Inspector Eugine Silume said, “In 2013/2014 the amount was N$1,328,526,229.00 while for 2014/2015 (April till December 2014) stands at 1,096,832,049.00.”
The amount is set to drastically increase as more people are set to turn 60 as the year progresses.
“The Ministry’s budget makes provision for those who will turn 60 years later in the year, as well as other eligible beneficiaries who did not apply and receive the benefits on time,” said Silume
Silume has however rejected claims that there are people who are claiming pension on behalf of a dead relatives.
“It is not difficult at all to detect that a pensioner is no more . The build in funeral benefit scheme requires people to report the death in order to acquire the funds for the burial. Once this is done, all the applicable benefits are stopped immediately. In other instances, if the death is not reported on time, and the money is not collected in three months, payments of grants are stopped, until such time that the beneficiary is able to prove that he/she is alive during the verification period, “he said.
Silume also spoke on the challenges the Ministry encounters in executing this duty effectively.
“The road patterns sometimes makes it impossible to reach out to all areas on time, mostly during the rainy season when roads become muddy and also some areas are sandy. A number of technical failures were observed, such as the Biometric machines sometimes unable to read the finger prints of some beneficiaries,” he said.
Silume however said that the Ministry is eager to overcome these challenges in a number of ways that includes the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare requesting Cabinet to implement a new, safer and easier payment system for social grants to the elderly, people living with disabilities, vulnerable groups and children.
“It (Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare) approached NamPost to introduce smartcards accounts for recipients of social grants. If a smartcard account is not used for three months, the money in the account would be reverted to the relevant pool account. Smartcard machines will be located at all 336 post offices country wide,” he said.