Zim rallies ECASSA to establish social security schemes for women

Zim rallies ECASSA to establish social security schemes for women

Victoria Falls – (New Ziana) – The Zimbabwean government has said African social security associations must come up with effective schemes and strategies to address the needs of women, who account for the bulk of employees on the continent’s informal sector.
Addressing delegates attending the East and Central African Social Security Association (ECASSA) , Zimbabwe’s Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Petronella Kagonye said current social
security schemes only covered formally employed public and private sector employees, neglecting the informal sector.

Absence of cover put women, who make up the majority of informal sector employees at risk in case of accidents that might prevent them from continuing with work.
Social security provides not only some pension for retired workers but covers those who might have been injured at workplace and are no longer able to fend for themselves.
“Due to low levels of formal participation of women, their social insurance coverage is even lower hence they remain highly exposed and vulnerable. The absence of social security coverage for the workforce
in the informal economy remains a cause for great concern as it leaves them with no means to manage life cycle risks,” Minister Kagonye said in a speech read on her behalf.

ECASSA Council and Standing Commitee members pose for a photo after an
ECASSA Council meeting in hosted by NSSA in Vic Falls

“Put your heads together as ECASA in coming up with effective strategies for extending social security coverage to this hither to vulnerable and neglected sector, especially in order to ensure that women’s vulnerability is reduced.”

With the informal economies employing the bulk of workers on the African continent, it was imperative that those working in the sector be covered.
Kagonye said Zimbabwe’s National Social Security Authority (NSSA), which joined ECASSA this January, was in line with this objective working on a plan to introduce a voluntary social security scheme for the informal sector, which is estimated to employ 90 percent of the country’s workforce.

ECASSA secretary general, Dr Frederic Ntimarubusa said it was imperative that the social security associations continue to learn from each other.

“We help each other because we are dealing with the same problems. Our people require social security and that can only be provided by these institutions we lead,” he said.
Dr Ntimarubusa said the institutions must invest funds they collect wisely in areas that spur economic development such as infrastructure development.

Adoption of new technologies would also enable them to reach out more effectively to those in need of the services, he urged.

He lauded Zimbabwe, the newest member of ECASSA, for hosting the group’s council and 21st standing committee meetings from May 14 to 18.

Local employer and worker representative bodies also participated at the four-day meeting.  New Ziana