By Staff Reporter
With the financial services sector seized with the eminent promulgation of the FIM Bill, Namfisa which seeks to expand its regulatory role, is reportedly reluctant to deal decisively with the much overdue submission of the government pension fund financial for the previous financial year.
On 30 September 2019, the GIPF Annual Financials Statements were due for submission but because of internal wrangles, alleged inefficiency in the Financial Department combined with the appointment of a new auditing firm, that submission is still due. Upon enquiry, Namfisa’s Victoria Muranda stated that “Kindly note that as regulator we cannot share the requested information due to the confidentiality clause in section 30 of the Namfisa Act.”
According to the provisions of the FIM Bill, Namfisa will require a quarterly update from pension funds despite industry concerns that this will only serve to increase Namfisa’s staffing numbers.
Subsequent enquiries to both Namfisa and GIPF remain unanswered.
The Government Pension Fund is the country’s largest pension fund with a market value in excess of N$ 110 billion. With the Namibian economy in recession, the Fund remains one of the top performing funds globally.
According to an industry insider, “Namfisa is jumping up and down about the delay in financial reports”, but the deadline for submission has now been deferred. Draft financial statements will be presented by end February, and only then will they be signed off by Chairperson Goms Menette.
In light of the many instances of mismanagement of funds in Namibia, the FIM Bill demands more vigilance which is required to act as a deterrent for such fraudulent acts, especially in an institution whose primary function is to provide pension and other related benefits to civil servants as well as employees of some institutions established by Acts of parliament: Pensioners, widows, orphans etc.
Namfisa has granted GIPF an extension for the submission of these financials. These financials are now overdue by almost six months.
Funding challenges on the horizon
Contributions from employer groups are waning, according to our industry expert. Municipalities, state owned enterprises and Government departments are among the culprits. With a current shortfall of 3%, month on month, the Fund is now relying on its reserves to cover the shortfall. With reserves regarded as “too high in line with international benchmarks”, GIPF pays out in excess of N$ 3,5 billion on a monthly basis in benefits.
GIPF last submitted an annual report on 4th December 2018.