THE Committee on Parastatal Bodies yesterday resolved to send away the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) because their responses to queries cited in the latest Auditor General’s report were not in an easy to understand format.
And committee chairperson Brian Kambita says the poor management of investments by NAPSA is a source of worry because this will affect the payment of pensioners in the country.
Speaking during the meeting, Thursday, Kambita, who is also Zambezi East member of parliament said being veterans in appearing before the committee, NAPSA should have done a better job.
“The committee deliberated after reviewing your submission. What came out eminently is the fact that you were unable to cite the queries that were contained in the Auditor General’s report before you provided your management response. What we seem to see here are just some headlines and then you have provided your response. In some cases even in your response, you have cited certain documents which are not included and what we could just see are icons,” he said.
“So members had challenges following your submission. Being veterans in appearing before this committee, the committee felt that you should have done a better job than what you have done. Therefore, Permanent Secretary and Director General, the committee has resolved that we send you back to go and resubmit. You will be guided by our secretariat so that your submission is in such a format that will be easy for members of parliament to follow query by query. It is just to let you know that what we are dealing with is serious. It borders on issues of national interest.”
Kambita said the committee would not want NAPSA to slip into the same trap as older parastatal bodies in having a series of challenges.
“This is the National Pensions Scheme Authority and we are alive to the fact that it is a young institution of 21 year old. The older ones have had their own challenges and we do not want it to slip into the same trap. We have several issues contained in this report which have been cited by the Office of the Auditor General. The challenge you have had in the poor management of investments, we have many other issues in managing lease agreements which are the sources of your income,” he said.
“We have challenges in investments of properties which are being leased and if we have challenges, then we have a problem. It means that the funds for your pensioners are not growing and sooner or later you will have challenges to pay pensioners. We need to deal with these challenges and the only way we can engage with you in a meaningful way is when you submit in a format that is better understood by this committee. The current submission is not in a form that is easy to follow, therefore we will ask you to go back and the secretariat will be setting up a different day within this meeting period when this committee is sitting and they will offer guidance on how your submission is envisaged.”
Meanwhile, Ministry of Labour and Social Security Acting Permanent Secretary Vivian Ndhlovu said NAPSA should work on the information and put it in the format as guided.
“Chair, just to appreciate your guidance in terms of how the format should be, we will definitely work on the information and put it in the format as guided. We are pleased to know that we will be guided by the secretariat so that even as we come, the responses to the queries will be as expected,” said Ndhlovu.