IN an effort to reconcile their books and take care of liabilities, the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) has revealed that it has significantly brought down the number of unclaimed benefactors and unenrolled annuitants from a staggering number of 12 000 individuals to just over 1 200 persons over the past years.
Speaking at a media briefing held on Tuesday, CEO of GIPF, David Nuyoma stated that actuarial evaluation was done in the financial year 2015 and the pension fund’s assets were evaluated against its liabilities.
Nuyoma further stated that after a thorough analysis, a reserve account was opened with a provision of N$1.5 billion in order to cater to those who have not claimed their pension fund benefits and children who are still unenrolled in the fund.
Nuyoma urged members to come forth as the fund will eventually write off these funds which will be moved to the guardian account.
When broken down into categories, Nuyoma stated that the list contains about 200 children and 800 unclaimed benefactors.
Touching on reforms and whether or not the fund could eventually cater for the general public and not just government employees, Nuyoma stated that the fund already caters to a myriad of government institutions, from SOE’s to regional councils.
He, however, added that beyond GIPF pension fund, the long awaited introduction of a National Pension Fund by the Social Security Commission will fill the gap that is currently experienced by low-income earners such as domestic workers, petrol attendants and other general workers.
Nuyoma also expanded on the funds improvement of turnaround times stating that the fund now pays out funeral claims within 12 hours.
“The Fund is fully aware that waiting for 12 months is not acceptable. The suffering endured during this period cannot be condoned. It is against this background that one of the strategic deliverables is to pay death benefits within three months with a provision to keep a certain portion within the Fund for the untraced beneficiaries,” Nuyoma explained.
The Fund has also adopted an extensive member education campaign in the past five years in efforts to minimize unpleasant predicaments such as an information drive which ran from print advertisements featuring “Frequently Asked Questions” strip adverts, member education radio campaigns in all vernaculars, printing of unclaimed benefits and unenrolled annuitant’s booklets that where availed at strategic places, as well as the creation of a search engine for unclaimed benefits on GIPF website.
The above-mentioned member outreach initiatives were accompanied by open days, trade fair participation, as well as roadshows which allowed their “Pension on Wheels” van to go out to remote areas to assist members that need to travel long distances to get to GIPF services. During this financial year, the Fund will acquire another van to increase and enhance outreach.