The labour ministry and the Social Security Commission (SSC), with the help of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), have designed an inclusive national pension fund to soon be submitted for consultation to government, with social partners and key stakeholders.
Minister of labour Utoni Nujoma made these remarks last week at the social security board induction while outlining new funds to be established in Namibia.
With the aim of ensuring senior citizens are entitled to and do receive a regular pension adequate for the maintenance of a decent standard of living and the enjoyment of social and cultural opportunities, Nujoma said the design of the national pension fund embodies the foundational principles of the Commission.
“The proposed membership coverage of the national fund is potentially more inclusive than the sick leave (MSD fund), since it caters to most of the informal sector in accordance with the principle that ‘No one should be left out’,” he said.
Nujoma noted that affording social security benefits to informal workers continues to be government’s priority.
“I, therefore, recommend that the commission consider how it can strengthen the MSD coverage to achieve the same objective.”
He further supported the proposed establishment of a national unemployment insurance fund as a key priority, and the development of a
return to work strategy in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the MVA Fund and other partners. Nujoma singled out some existing funds focusing on sick leave, saying he asked the commission to consider the impact and effectiveness of sickness and work-related disability benefits provided by the MSD Fund or the Employees Compensation Fund, also administered by the commission on the protection of Namibian workers affected by Covid-19.
He said the improvement of maternity benefits must be put back on track.
In 2007, the commission made a commitment to provide full maternity leave income support to female members at all income levels within five years.
According to Nujoma, the commitment was not implemented.
In recent years, the commission made a decision to expand full income support from a ceiling of N$13 000 per month to N$20 000 per month but had to defer implementation due to its contribution to the government Covid-19 stimulus package.
He urged that the improvement of the maternity benefits be prioritised.
“I commit that our ministry will work with the commission to introduce the necessary legislation to ensure that maternity leave and benefits can be expanded to cover a period of 14 weeks in conformity with the ILO Maternity Protection Convention 183,” he said.