Row over IPEC tender

HARARE - A row has erupted over the Insurance and Pension Commission (Ipec)’s tender to engage a human resources consultancy, with insurance players seeking government’s intervention.

Ipec last week issued a tender seeking the services of a human resources consultancy to assist in the restructuring exercise of the commission to ensure that it becomes more responsive to market needs.

However, the Forum of Pensions and Insurance Governance of Zimbabwe (FPIGZ) — a body comprising insurance players — has written to Finance minister Tendai Biti arguing that the insurance commissioner is neglecting her duties by engaging a consultant.

“We wish to highlight that the details of the tasks (or job description) to be undertaken by the successful consultant, as outlined in the tender, show that the job description is in fact the Commissioner’s job,” FPIGZ’s chairperson Emmanuel Mutemeri stated in the letter to Biti, dated January 17, 2013.

“Assigning a consultant to this job is a dereliction of duty on the part of the incumbent Commissioner,” Mutemeri argued.

He said the move by Ipec to hire a consultant is null and void in light of an agreement between Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Biti and Ipec on the strategy to resolve the problems at the Commission. The tripartite agreed on a strategy to enforce competency and accountability at Ipec, and in the process minimise pensioners and policyholder prejudices by pension and insurance service providers.

“Members of our constituencies are deeply concerned that the potentially errant Ipec administration continues to regulate the pension and insurance industries, potentially incompetently, without any closure to the problems faced by pensioners,” said Mutemeri, adding that there was widespread concern on why the Commission was not being reigned in.

“In the absence of the full implementation of the agreed resolution strategy, and in the absence of transparency in the manner in which the resolution is being implemented, such speculations have been discussed elsewhere in the media, with unfortunate negative publicity of the ministry.”

Martin Tarusenga, Zimbabwe Pensions and Insurance Rights Trust (ZimPIRT) general manager, said Biti should dismiss the commission as it had failed in its mandate to protect pensioners.

“By advertising their job, it means the commission has failed. How can they look for a consultant to do a substantive job?” queried Tarusenga. Tarusenga — an insurance expert — added that Ipec must be overhauled to increase efficiency and represent the rights of policyholders.

Biti could not be reached for comment. - John Kachembere

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