In a bid to address the longstanding issue of delayed retirement payments, President Hakainde Hichilema has declared that retirees will now receive their terminal benefits just three months after they retire. The move is aimed at reducing the backlog of retirees who have been waiting for their dues for several decades. President Hichilema made the announcement during a meeting with Bishops from the Anglican Church at State House.
During the meeting, President Hichilema expressed his government’s commitment to resolving the plight of retirees who had endured years of uncertainty and financial strain due to delayed payments. He disclosed that his administration had already cleared the pending retirement benefits for the majority of retirees who had been waiting for up to 20 years.
Additionally, the Zambian President unveiled plans to implement a Credit Window, offering citizens access to credit with interest rates below commercial levels, especially designed to support businesses. The Credit Window initiative is expected to provide significant benefits for the agricultural sector, enabling farmers to plant crops twice a year, which, in turn, would lead to increased yields.
President Hichilema emphasized that the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) had encountered challenges as some individuals took advantage of the system, accessing fertilizers meant for farming and subsequently selling them for personal gain without engaging in any agricultural activities. The new Credit Window is intended to offer farmers better access to financial resources for their agricultural needs and curb the misuse of agricultural support programs.
The announcement of the Credit Window has been met with enthusiasm from various agricultural stakeholders, as it is anticipated to have a positive impact on the productivity and livelihoods of farmers across the country.
Meanwhile, during the meeting with the Anglican Church representatives, Archbishop Albert Chama of the Central African Province praised the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for its transformative role in empowering communities. He commended the initiative, stating that it allowed people to decide on development projects according to their specific needs and priorities.
However, the Archbishop also expressed concerns about the National Health Insurance Scheme Authority (NHIMA), noting that the coverage provided did not include all illnesses. He urged the government to extend NHIMA’s coverage to include a broader range of medical conditions, as many Zambians could not afford treatment in private health facilities.
President Hichilema assured the Anglican Church representatives that his government would take their concerns into serious consideration and strive to make improvements in the country’s healthcare system to ensure better access to medical services for all citizens.