PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says the Government fully supports the prudent utilisation of members’ contributions by pensions funds, but wants to see their investments lead to financial sustainability and quick payment of pension benefits.
President Hichilema, represented by Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane, also unveiled a huge statue of Zambia’s Founding
President Hichilema said the Government did not want Zambians to get into destitution after retirement and that was why it wanted public service workers to be paid their dues within three months after retirement, while pledging continued adequate budgetary allocations to the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF).
“Our Government fully supports prudent utilisation of members’ contributions by pensions funds, as long as the investments lead to financial sustainability and ensure the quick payment of pension benefits,” President Hichilema said.
He was elated that the PSPF, which owned the Long Acres Mall, had invested in various asset classes, which included investment equity, fixed income securities, real estate and a micro-finance scheme for its members.
“I am glad to note that the fund has paid more than 3,000 retirees in the short period we have been in Government. This is indeed unprecedented,” he said.
President Hichilema said further that the Government was passionate about job creation and that was why it applauded entities that were complimenting its effort in that area.
Mr Hichilema said he was reliably informed over 500 jobs were created for Zambians during the construction of the mall.
“With the mall now being fully operational, it is expected that more than 1,000 jobs for our citizens will be created. We are, therefore, confident that this mall will contribute to the economic development of our country,” Mr Hichilema said.
President Hichilema said the KK Square and Dr Kaunda’s statue should be commended by all Zambians as the country celebrated and remembered one of Africa’s iconic leaders.
Mr Hichilema said he was honoured to unveil the statue of Zambia’s first President and that citizenry would be able to remember him for being instrumental in ensuring that nation was free from colonialism.
“The statue will be a continuous reminder to our people of the great son of the soil who sacrificed so much for this country, the region and beyond,” he said.
President Hichilema thanked China for facilitating the partnership between Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICB) of China and PSPF board.
The mall was the PSPF’s initiative was an initiative of the public service pensions fund and was partly financed by ICB, with the Government providing a guarantee for the financing.
President Hichilema was glad that the PSPF had been servicing its debt obligations to the ICB.
Labour and Social Security Minister Brenda Tambatamba said the Government was in full support of initiatives by players in the social security sector aimed at securing the livelihoods of their members and to add to the employment of creation agenda.
“In as much as my ministry appreciates the role that investors play in the economy, we would also like to reiterate that adherence to labour laws is very critical to us. In this regard, we are hopeful and confident that tenants at this mall will prioritise the wellbeing of their employees,” she said.
Dr Kaunda’s son Tilyenji and creator of the statue Chande Kapundu were among those that witnessed the unveiling of the sculpture.