Pensions sector resilient: Ipec

THE Insurance and Pension Commission (Ipec) says the pensions sector has been on a growth trajectory despite business disruptions caused by Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns since March last year.

Ipec commissioner Grace Muradzikwa on Wednesday said the pension sector’s asset base had recorded growth of 494 percent to $177,12 billion during the first quarter of the year compared to $29,81 billion in the same quarter last year.

She was speaking during a virtual training workshop for journalists organised by Ipec in partnership with the National Social Security Authority (Nssa).

“The increase was mainly driven by an increase in the value of investment properties, quoted equities and unquoted equities,” Muradzikwa said.

During the same period, pension contributions increased by 242 percent to $2,86 billion from $440 million in March last year on account of salary increases in response to inflation.

Zimbabwe has a fairly vibrant pensions industry, but it remains blighted by low market confidence because of the country’s storied history with hyperinflation.  

According to the regulator, as of March 622 pension funds were active with a cumulative 909 600 members.  

Muradzikwa noted that because of the Covid-19, a number of employers in affected sectors had waived contributions.

Outstanding contributions amounted to $2,23 billion as of March 2021 while unclaimed benefits reached $1,67 billion.

“Retrenchment of some personnel, reduction in covers, rental income arrears increased and illiquidity due to declining contributions are some of the impacts of the pandemic,” she said.

However, the pensions boss added that the pandemic also saw rapid digitalisation of the sector which resulted in restructuring of key business functions.

Freedom Mashava

Senior Staff writer