Friday April 01, 2011 Local News MPs quiz double pension pay By BILHAM KIMATI, 31st March 2011 @ 12:41, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 169 THE Parliamentary Public Organisations Account Committee (POAC) has recommended the intervention of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Treasury Registrar in the pensioners payment system that gave room to double payment in the form of gratuity and endowment benefits. The observation stems from a presentation of the 2009 Performance Report by the Director General of the Parastatal Pension Fund (PPF), Mr William Erio, who said some high ranking pensioners received more than 200m/- as gratuity in 2009 on top of endowment benefits. Announcing their general observations on behalf of the committee in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, the POAC Chairman, Mr Zitto Kabwe, demanded clarification on the logic behind repeated payment of gratuity to employees whose contracts were renewed after receiving handshake like terminal benefits. It was established that at the end of contracts for example, large sums of money was paid in addition to endowment benefits, to high ranking officials in public organizations like TANESCO, TANAPA and others. However, those employed on permanent basis do not have access to this kind of privilege. On-contract pensioners therefore receive endowment and gratuity benefits together with monthly pension disbursement. This system is problematic and must be reviewed for the benefit of all, Mr Zitto said. The committee further questioned laws and regulations that prevented double payment to employees, saying it appeared a few individuals continued to take advantage of some loopholes referred to as directors fees The PPF Board comprises eight members and one of them is a legislator, Ms Zabein Mhita. However, since regulations bar parliamentarians from being board members in public organizations, the committee advised PPF to communicate with the Finance ministry for immediate replacement of Ms Mhita. Earlier, Mr Erio informed the committee that the fund operated on agreed regulations and framework and that application of a certain formula resulted in payments to individuals in accordance with terms of their contracts. In 2009, for example, PPF with more that 20,000 pensioners raised 126.9bn/- that marked a significant growth by 17.6 per cent from the 107bn/- in the previous years records. The total payment to pensioners in 2009 amounted to 47.2bn/- compared with 36.8bn/- paid in 2008, following a rapid increase in the number of pensioners due to retrenchment, closure of business by companies and retirement age, Mr Erio explained. However, the committee demanded clarification that PPF spent 19.7bn/- on administrative costs in 2009, due to increasing running costs, renovation of structures and maintenance costs. Among many challenges, PPF is grappling with AIDS and other terminal illnesses that claimed many lives of its members, leading to a drastic increase in the number of pensioners. Global financial crisis and complaints from pensioners on the amount they were paid, were among other challenges experienced.