By OLIVER SAMBOKO
PARTIAL withdrawal of pension benefits by members of the National Pension Scheme (NAPSA), will not only provide for access to finances but will also promote financial inclusion among citizens, the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has observed.
CSPR executive director Faides Tembatemba, said the organisation is elated that President Hakainde Hichilema has signed the National Pension Scheme Amendment Bill of 2023 into law, which allows for the partial withdrawal of pension benefit.
She said the development will enable citizens to invest the funds into various ventures and assets that will increase their income and improve their wellbeing and consequently creating jobs thereby contributing to the country’s economic development agenda.
She said the new law presents an opportunity for Citizens to invest in agriculture and food processing.
She also urged government and other stakeholders to enhance the promotion of financial management especially for vulnerable groups such as women and youth.
Ms Tembatemba said Zambia has been dealing with the legacy of years of economic mismanagement, with an especially inefficient public investment drive and with the signing into law of the long awaited NAPSA amendment Bill, the country is likely record reduced poverty levels.
She said reduction of poverty levels in the country has been very slow resulting in the country to record inequality, and malnutrition that are among the highest in the world.
“Furthermore, Zambia is in debt distress, this has driven majority of Zambia’s into destitute especially with high unemployment levels,” she said.
She noted that Zambia remains one of the least developed countries in Africa, with 54 percent of the population living on less than $1.90 a day and an average life expectancy of 63.5 years.
Ms Tembatemba therefore said the new Law has potential to improve liquidity in the country which will stimulate economic activities.
She also said research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the population shows that it has pushed a substantial number of Zambians further into precarious circumstances and has increased food insecurity.
“In this regard, the CSPR would like to commend government for the initiative it has taken to sign the Bill into Law as this will significantly contribute to the wellbeing of Zambians,” she said.