Umzingwane legislator Levi Mayihlome (ZANU PF) has urged the government to pay pensioners including war veterans a minimum of US$200 in monthly pensions.
Mayihlome’s call for US dollar pensions comes hardly a month after a group of disgruntled ex-combatants were arrested after protesting in central Harare demanding an upward review of their monthly stipends.
In his contribution to a motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and the presidential speech on the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament, Mayihlome said ex-combatants and other pensioners were living like paupers. Mayihlome said:
The pension should at least be reviewed upwards to a minimum of about US$200 per month for all pensioners, including war veterans so that at least they have a decent life.
I would want to talk about the National Social Security Authority pensions. My plea is that the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry needs to review these pensions.
They reviewed it upwards from US$15 to US$45 and now it is going to be US$60 per month per individual, but who can live on US$60 per month?
These are people who have contributed to the development of this country. They worked hard all their lives. They toiled making major investments, some of which have been the pride of this country, yet we expect them to live on US$60 per month. It’s not fair.
Last year, the government adjusted pensions for the former freedom fighters to cushion them against the rising cost of living but inflation has left many failing to afford basics.
Meanwhile, civil servants have been pushing for the restoration of the US$540 average earned before October 2018 but the government says the demand cannot be met due to the scarcity of foreign currency.
The government promised to periodically increase their salaries. Some workers, including teachers, are earning an average of US$100.