Parly hikes funeral support for MPs

HARARE - Parliament is modernising bereavement benefits for Members of Parliament (MP), hiking the $1 500 previously paid on the death of a serving lawmaker to $2 500 in a new scheme that will better assist parliamentarians in what can be an extremely difficult time.

The planned new bereavement support payment will provide a higher lump sum payment than currently is offered and more lawmakers will be able to claim this full support.

Southerton MDC MP Gift Chimanikire had noted that the bereavement benefit system was “particularly outdated” and asked the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to explain government policy on funeral assistance when an MP passes away.

The cost of even the most basic funeral can drive families into debt, MPs have said, as they urged for an overhaul of the support system.

But Mnangagwa said a new parliamentary policy document on funeral assistance has addressed the issue and government had modernised the bereavement benefit system.

“Treasury concurrence has been sought for a once-off payment of $2 500.  This amount was revised from $1 500 that was previously being paid on the death of a serving MP. 

“The family of the deceased MP is entitled to $2 500 as funeral assistance. This is in accordance with the parliamentary policy document on funeral assistance.”  

The purpose of funeral benefits is to help with the funeral costs when a member passes away.  

Mnangagwa said if the government fails to pay the benefits in time due to one reason or the other, it remains indebted to fulfil this obligation in the shortest possible time.  

“The government acknowledges that there has been a delay in the paying of these benefits to the intended beneficiaries, but government has pledged to ensure that this backlog is cleared by 31 December, 2016,” he said.

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