Minister of Labour and Social Security Joyce Simukoko has dismissed claims alleging that government is abusing the National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) by getting from it colossal sums of money.
Ms. Simukoko said she was not aware of government abusing NAPSA funds and appealed to anyone with evidence to bring it forward for further consideration.
The Minister was speaking in Parliament this morning when responding to Katombola Member of Parliament, Derrick Livune who alleged that government was abusing NAPSA funds and called on her to intervene.
“The issue of government abusing lump sum funds from NAPSA, I’m not aware of government abusing NAPSA funds but if the person speaking has evidence I would rather have it so that we see the way forward. I mean I’m in government as well. We will look at it but otherwise I’m not aware of it,” she said.
And Ms. Simukoko added that Napsa is well protected by clauses and of which one of them is clause 4 that it makes it almost impossible for anyone to abuse its funds.
“So unless the person who is saying it has proof they can come to my office and we can look at it,” The Minister echoed.
Meanwhile, Ms Simukoko has urged all Zambian workers to be proactive and report all injustices from their work places.
Ms. Simukoko stated that the Ministry conducts surprise visits to institutions to check on compliance levels by the employers but emphasised that workers themselves must also be reporting any injustices.
The Minister made these remarks in response to Kafue Member of Parliament Mirriam Chonya who appealed to her to look into the wellbeing of workers by addressing the many challenges they are faced with.
“The issue of visiting institutions, we do make surprise visits just to see compliance and know what is going on but I would like to appeal to the workers in this that they have an obligation to report any injustice where there are no unions but where they are trade unions that’s their responsibility because that is why unions where formed, to protect workers interests,” Ms. Simukoko noted.
“We even have a tool line now where people can call in and tell us what institution or whatever injustices are there. We normally go there and bring employers together and counsel them. So the obligation to report, lies in the workers as well,”
The Minister further stated that despite not having adequate officers, government has made efforts to ensure that there is an inspector in almost each district.
“I’m number one inspector. Definitely we don’t have enough officers in that category but government has done a lot in that area. I think in almost every district we now have an inspector,” she said.
“And as a Ministry we have also gone ahead to bring on board NAPSA and Workers Compensation. We have made a group of people not only from the Ministry of Labour to go round and make abrupt inspections,”
Ms. Simukoko further indicated that the Ministry of Labour does not make laws for workers alone but that it is a collective responsibility with trade unions and employers.
“All the laws that are made for workers are not done by the Ministry of Labour alone, but it is a tripartite arrangement, a composition of trade unions, employers and government come together to make laws for the workers so it is highly participatory,” the Minister said.