Local Government and Housing Minister Charles Banda says government has released K251 million to the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF) towards the dismantling of pension benefits owed to its retirees.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka, Wednesday, Banda said the released amount is out of the total K555 million, which the Authority owed to its 14,709 retirees, leaving an outstanding balance of K304 million.
“We are going to look at the release of K251 million to the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF). As you may recall, on 17th September, 2019, I informed Parliament that government is aware that the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund owes 14,709 retirees their benefits. As of July, 2019, the total bill also stood at K555 million. And to this effect, I assured the House that government was committed to disbursing K251 million towards dismantling of the outstanding retirees and pensioners benefits before the end of September, 2019,” Banda said.
“The K251 million is the second financing of retirement benefits after government released K150 million in April, 2017. Our government, as a listening government, has not departed from its campaign promises and has now released the funds as we had promised our retirees. I wish to state that the release of the K251 million demonstrate government’s resolve and determination of alleviating the challenges of the retirees and pensioners, which they are facing in order to uplift their welfare. The release will also go a long way in addressing the challenges currently being experienced by the LASF, especially regarding the dismantling the pension benefits and annuities that have been outstanding.”
He said the release of funds did not absorb local authorities and other employers that contributed to LASF from defaulting on remittance of pension contributions.
Banda said the onus was now on LASF to roll out a payment programme to its pensioners countrywide.
“In this regard, I would like to emphasize the fact that the release of these funds does not absorb the local authorities and other employers that contribute to LASF from defaulting on remittance of pension contributions. The remittance of pension contributions should in fact be intensified so that LASF should be able to meet its obligations. Government will not tolerate any local authority or other member employers who deliberately abrogate the law by failing to remit pension contributions to LASF. Further, government has done its part and it is now up to LASF to immediately roll out a payment programme for all its pensioners countrywide,” said Banda.