ZANZIBAR Social Security Fund (ZSSF), has embarked on sweeping strategies to double its membership to 200,000 contributors in the next two years.
Through its special plan— Zanzibar Voluntary Social Service Scheme (ZVSSS)— the 22-year old fund envisages recruiting more members from the informal sector and investing heavily in real estate, equity shares and treasury bonds.
According to ZSSF Managing Director Sabra Issa Machano, the fund is determined to ensure all Zanzibaris have social protection irrespective of their social, economic and racial status.
“Social security is a basic human right, social protection protects people against all likely social calamities,” Ms Machano told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview here, adding that the fund is investing in projects with high productivity and benefits to wananchi.
She described ZSSF as one of the biggest native investors in the Islands, with projects in Unguja and Pemba.
“It’s the public power that is enabling us to perform all these,” she appreciated.
Ms Machano said the fund liquidity has grown from 800m/- when it started to the current over 500bn/-, with 7bn/- in monthly collections.
“We spend 2bn/- in payments to our pensioners and invest the remaining 5bn/-,” she said.
Planning, Investment and Research Manager with ZSSF, Abdulaziz Ibrahim Iddi said the fund’s total investment portfolio stands at 160bn/, with treasury bills and bonds; fixed deposits; loans and shares equity dominating the fund’s investment avenues.
“As our collections grow, we envisage widening our financial investments as well—we want more investments in bonds, equities and shares,” said Mr Iddi, hinting that had it not been for legal limitations, the fund would have explored more investment opportunities outside the country.
Through the public private partnership (PPP) arrangement, the social fund is exploring investment opportunities in airport infrastructure, especially in cargo handling, said the planning manager.
ZSSF has already revived Kariakoo Children Park, constructed Mbweni estate, the first in Zanzibar, invested in Kisonge building and constructed two tourist hotels in Pemba.
“We make investments that directly benefit the ordinary people, we continually invest productively for the citizens’ advantages and pay our pensioners on time,” said Ms Machano, vowing to sustain the key concept behind the establishment of the fund.