The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has clarified that the assented National Pensions Scheme Amendment Bill No. 21 of 2022 by President Hakainde Hichilema on early access to benefits only applies to the members of the defunct Zambia National Provident Fund(ZNPF).
Minister of Labour and Social Security Brenda Tambatamba disclosed in a statement that the amendment allows ZNPF members to claim for age benefits by now, instead of waiting for the eligibility age of 50 years, as this amendment was done because the ZNPF assets have since been depleted resulting in payments of benefits made from the National Pensions Scheme Fund, adding that the amendment will allow for an early pay-off all defunct ZNPF members and closure of their accounts.
“One of the objectives of the assented Bill is to amend the National Pensions Scheme Act to provide for an option to claim for age benefits by a member under the pensionable age under the existing fund of the Zambia National Provident Fund,” she said
Ms Tambatamba explained that the Amendment Bill to do with early access of pension contributions for members of the National Pensions Scheme Authority – NAPSA is still being developed and will be introduced in Parliament once the drafting process has been finalised.
“Beyond the defunct Zambia National Provident Fund – ZNPF early access, Cabinet recently approved in principle, the proposal to amend the National Pension Scheme Act No. 40 of 1996 to allow for partial withdrawal of pension contributions for members under the National Pension Scheme Authority,” Ms Tambatamba mentioned
Meanwhile, the National Pension Scheme Authority – NAPSA has clarified that the assented National Pension Scheme Bill by President Hakainde Hichilema has revised the minimum age limit for one off early access to Zambia National Provident Fund – ZNPF benefit from 50 to 36 years.
Addressing the media in Lusaka this afternoon, NAPSA Director General Muyangwa Muyangwa explained that the revision of the minimum age limit required to access ZNPF benefits entails that all members who contributed to ZNPF between 1966 an 2000 and have not made a claim can now claim their benefits without waiting to reach the age of 50 years which initially required for one to access the benefits.
“The new law will facilitate for payment of all ZNPF members and allow for the closure of their accounts, and at first contact, members claiming ZNPF benefits will be required to present their original National Registration Card (NRC) for all self-claims, while for survivors’ benefits, the administrators of the estate of the deceased are to present the deceased’s original NRC, death record and order of appointment as administrator among other required documents, we have also developed ICT systems to allow ZNPF members to claim benefits online, this is aimed at giving our members an efficient service and help to decongest the customer service centers.” he explained
Mr Muyanga added that the Bill has also revised the penalty rate from 20 percent to 10 percent for delayed payment of contributions and this will apply to new penalties incurred after coming into effect of the new law.
He further explained that the new law further provides for a waiver of penalties on conditions that the Ministry may by statutory instrument prescribe.
“The conditions and eligibility for the waiver will be availed as soons as the regulations are passed, as works on the regulations have since advanced,” he said
Mr Muyangwa stated that the revision of the minimum age limit required to access ZNPF benefits entails that all members who contributed to the fund between 1966 and 2000 and have not made a claim can now do so without waiting to reach 50 years.