WINDHOEK- The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) will make an announcement next week on Thursday regarding the long-awaited housing loan assistance scheme.
In an interview with New Era yesterday, Elvis Nashilongo GIPF General Manager for Marketing and Corporate Communication said GIPF has made remarkable progress and scheduled a stakeholders’ meeting next Thursday to make an announcement on the implementation of the scheme.
Besides government ministries and agencies, there are a number of statutory bodies such as the Namibia Airports Company (NAC), Namibia Press Agency (Nampa), Namibia Tourism Board to mention but a few as well as regional councils and ten village councils that are currently registered with the GIPF.
Since GIPF announced its plans for the housing assistance scheme a few years back, its members of whom the majority face housing problems have been eager for the process to start so that they can borrow money from their penion savings to build or purchase houses.
When asked about what benefits the fund offers its members, Nashilongo said GIPF has “very generous benefits”. “For example, GIPF’s pension formula has an accrual rate of 2.4 percent of the member’s final salary. This means that if a member works for 41.8 years, he or she will receive a pension that will be able to replace 100 percent of his or her final salary. By international standards, an accrual rate of 2.4 percent is considered high,” he explained.
Further, he noted that over and above the traditional benefits that the fund offers, it also provides retirement benefits for employees who have been retrenched.
Additionally, he said the fund also offers non-contribution based benefits such as funeral benefits, which have improved recently.
“For example, the fund has increased funeral benefits for active members, and as of last year, members who are already on retirement (pensioners) were made to participate in this benefit. This benefit comes at no cost to members,” Nashilongo said.
Regarding the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC ) that strongly contended in its discussion paper on the GIPF ‘s legal framework published in December 2013 that there is a lack of government ownership and control over the management of GIPF, Nashilongo confirmed there were ongoing consultations for possible review.
“We can confirm that there is an ongoing process to review the governance structure of GIPF and we are working together with the LRDC and relevant stakeholders on this matter. At this stage it will not be appropriate to get into the details of the process currently in motion. However, we can assure you that GIPF has resolved to give its full cooperation throughout this review process,” he maintained.
Moreover, he said GIPF was financially sound and its growth has consistently placed it in a fully funded position making it possible to meet its long-term liabilities.
On May 31 2013, its assets stood at N$75.764 billion and total investments stood at N$62.334 billion at March 31 2013.
By Albertina Nakale