NSSA set to acquire First Mutual’s 20% stake in RTG
HARARE – The National Social Security Authority is in negotiations to acquire First Mutual Holdings stake in the Rainbow Tourism Group as part of efforts to take full control of all its “troubled” investee companies. The authority already holds a 40% stake in the group.
NSSA chairman Robin Vela said the authority was engaging FML over the acquisition of its Rainbow stake and that discussions are ongoing. “I’m not saying we are going to buy FML stake but discussions are ongoing. But if we buy the stake we are going to have 60% in RTG. What’s important is not buying the stake but the strategic position should change in RTG. We believe that RTG needs to be positioned in another way. We want it to focus more on two to three (four) star hotels. We are actually committed to the hospitality industry because we believe it’s critical to the industry,” said Vela.
He continued: “When we have troubled relationships, we always look at taking control of events. The moment we see we are not aligned with other shareholders, we then need to restructure the board and the management team so that the entity works for the benefit of all shareholders…not only just one or two that have a blocking factor,” he said in reference to the troubled relationship that the authority has had with businessman Nick Van Hoogstraten.
Meanwhile at a press conference to update stakeholders on first quarter performance, Vela said that the authority was finalising negotiations with significant players in the country with a view to take up space at the former RTG-run Beitbridge Hotel. The complex was being redeveloped into mixed-use asset with shops, offices and residential units.
On other investments, Vela said the authority is working with Government to resuscitate the Cold Storage Commission during the course of the year. He said NSSA would inject $18 million. “We believe that this will unlock value in the livestock industry through job creation, foreign currency earnings and increased contributions to the benefit of our contributors/pensioners and the economy at large.”
At Celestial Park, occupancy is now at 52% while at St Tropez Apartments refurbishments of the 60 unit complex is underway. “Demo units will shortly be on show to test the market and the units will be in the market for sale through the National Building Society during the second quarter 2017.
Vela said NSSA will increase monthly pension payouts during the second quarter of this year.
“When the board was appointed in July 2015, we promised to work tirelessly towards the provision of a living pension for our long–suffering pensioners. We have made a first step towards that by reviewing retirement pension’s pay-outs upwards,” he said.
“The proposals await actuarial validation and it is intended the revision will be implemented in Q2 2017,” he said.
Vela said NSSA expected that all pensioners would appreciate the move as a signal of where the authority wanted to go as far as livable pensions was concerned.
The government recently directed NSSA to raise pay-outs to $100 per month with a view to review again to $150 before the end of the year.
NSSA collects employee contributions every month and is supposed to invest that money.
The authority’s investment portfolio includes money markets, property, short and long term investments in associated subsidiaries as well as in land.
NSSA payouts have however remained a paltry $60 per month, an amount that pensioners who live outside the cities might exhaust on bus fare and related travel expenses alone.