July 6, 2017 / 9:12 AM / a month ago

Zimbabwe state pension fund reports higher contributions, premiums

HARARE, July 6 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's state-owned pension fund on Thursday reported a 12 percent increase in pension contributions and premiums to $328 million during the year to December 2016 due to improved collections and after the government settled its arrears.

The National Social Security Authority (NSSA), with assets of $1.1 billion, is one of the biggest investors on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and has at several times bailed out government with loans.

NSSA board chairman Robin Vela said in a statement that the government had paid its $180.9 million arrears dating back to 2013 through treasury bills with a tenure of 10 years.

"The increase in contributions is attributable to improved collections arising from stakeholder engagement. This has resulted in more voluntary compliance despite the decline in the number of registered employers," Vela said.

Short of funding from foreign donors since 1999, President Robert Mugabe's government is relying on domestic taxes and borrowing to fund its budget and has struggled to pay salaries and pension contributions for its workers.

Vela said 28,162 employers were registered with the NSSA, down 2 percent from the previous year. The NSSA paid $271 million in claims, pension and other benefits last year, up from $254 million previously. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; editing by Andrew Roche)

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