Administration of social security schemes in Zambia: A case study in administrative and operational problems of the Zambia National Provident Fund(ZNPF)
Mwaba, Benjamin Kasongo
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Social Security entails the provision of incomes to individuals to enable them maintain a reasonable and socially acceptable standard of livelihood. Where social security is administered on a contributory basis individuals in paid employment save some of their money with private or public social security organisations or schemes which specialize in looking after such money and paying it back to owners when they retire from active, regular paid jobs for whatever reasons, and a good many of such schemes exist in Zambia for this purpose. In Zambia these schemes are important basically for two reasons. For one, the majority of working Zambians earn so little that after spending on their essential and immediate needs people do not have enough money left for them to save voluntarily banks. This means that many people are poor without means for them to fall back on when they are no longer earning. Such schemes should provide money to cushion the hardships of unemployment. For another, moneys accumulating in these schemes are used by the state for its social and economic development programmes. We will postulate in this study that the Zambian Government has been laying emphasis on the application of funds from these schemes more for socio-economic development of the country than on social security needs of individuals who contribute money to the schemes. This proposition will be clearer here when we understand something about the way money is raised from the people; how such money is managed; paid back to the people and some problems met in the whole of that process. At least five features will be prominent in this case study to explain everything we have been saying here. These are: persons protected by the ZNPF; contingencies against which they are protected; income benefits available to those so protected; socio-economic services provided by the ZNPF and management and its problems, Zambia National Provident Fund is the largest social security scheme in Zambia in terms of membership or people covered by it who are more than a million, and its problems must, therefore, be generalisable.