Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Tapuwa Matangaidze has called on the Government to provide point of sale machines in rural areas to cater for pensioners who are forced to travel to urban areas to access cash and buy groceries.
Responding to questions in Parliament on Wednesday, Deputy Minister Matangaidze said although the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) was paying pensioners on time, it was difficult for them to access cash or goods from the shops.
“What we should be working towards is to provide a lot of point of sale machines that accept use of swipe all over the country. We should make sure that people have access to the use of plastic money.
“NSSA has never defaulted in giving pensioners their pensions. Two or three months ago, we actually increased pensions from $60 to $80, but the problem is that those in the rural areas can’t buy using plastic money because the facilities are not there,” said Deputy Minister Matangaidze.
He said it was sad that most pensioners from rural areas were travelling to urban areas to access cash or buy groceries, while some were starving as they do not have the money to travel.
“NSSA does not have a challenge in transferring money for pensioners into their accounts. If there is a challenge that a person prefers hard cash or EcoCash, that is an external problem. I hope the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is making efforts to solve this problem.
“I want to reiterate that the use of plastic money is in line with global trends and people can access whatever service they want with plastic money. It’s therefore important for the Government to provide point of sale machines so that people don’t sleep in queues at the banks,” said Deputy Minister Matangaidze.
He added that Government ministries need to work together and come up with lasting solutions to the cash problems.
“Let us sit down and ensure that we do things that are good for our country,” he said.
The country is experiencing a severe cash shortage that has crippled industry despite the introduction of bond notes into the market in November last year.
Long queues of account holders in need of the elusive cash has become common, with daily maximum withdrawals being reduced to as little as $30 in some banks. — @pamelashumba1