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Government ignores own 2010 Pensions Act

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Officials from the Accountant General on Tuesday came under fire from parliamentarians on the delays by the government to implement the 2010 Pensions Act which, they said, is negatively affecting the welfare of retiring civil servants.

Lilongwe Mpenu Nkhoma legislator, Collins Kajawa, raised the issue on the first day of parliamentary cluster meetings when parliamentarians interact with heads of government departments on the budget.

Accountant General, William Matambo, conceded that the government has not implemented the 2010 Pensions Act due to what he called lack of funds for the exercise.

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“We needed K63 billion to implement the first phase and we have asked for an additional K7 billion for the new pension scheme which will include civil servants who are 35 years old and new young civil servants joining the government,” he said.

As a result, he said, it would be impossible to implement the Pensions Act in its entirety as it would cost the government huge sums of money.

The Accountant General said the government has always gone to Parliament to ask for a waiver so that it does not implement the pension scheme.

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But he said that government would from this year migrate from the current social pension scheme to mandatory contributory scheme.

Matambo also told the parliamentarians that K70.6 billion has been set aside this year for pensions, up from K50.1 billion last year as more ageing civil servants are retiring from the government.

He gave an example of his own office where he said 12 chief accountants have so far retired due to old age, crippling operations of his office.

Former president Bingu wa Mutharika came under intense fire in 2010 for pushing for the implementation of the mandatory scheme before preparatory work was done in what analysts said was aimed at getting money through pension funds during the economic crisis.

Chair of the joint Parliamentary Committee of the Public Accounts Committee and Budget Committee Kamlepo Kalua and other members said they were impressed with the accountant general’s explanation and that they would back the vote so that it passes.

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