My heart literally sank, not once but twice this week.
Last week, my mother, who is a pensioner and staying in our home village, asked me to check if she was still receiving her monthly pension and make sure her funeral policy payments were up to date. She was worried as she was no longer receiving sms alerts of deposits.
On Monday I went to the pensions offices and was happy to be told all was in order despite her not getting any messages.
However, my day was spoiled when I went to Doves Funeral Services to be told that her policy had actually elapsed. Apparently they had not been deducting money since last October as per the stop order arrangement because her monthly premium was now more than her monthly pension payout.
She currently gets ZWL$600 (about P60) while her policy premium stands at ZWL$695 (almost P70).
I was then told she has to pay ZWL$4060 (P406) so her account is up to date and that she now has to come in and pay for her policy because of the less money she was getting as her pension.
My heart may have sunk but I quickly reminded myself that this is Zimbabwe where money loses value at the blink of an eye.
I don’t even want to talk about the pittance my mother and other pensioners get as their pension.
Having toiled for years, pensioners in Zimbabwe are getting a very raw deal.
Putting this into perspective, the money that these old people get per month is only enough for eight loaves of bread!
It is for this reason my mother decided she might as well use it for one thing, but now that it’s no longer enough for her policy, she might as well buy bread.
As somebody said this week, the economic situation in this country will drive us into depression.
Another money matter that dropped my jaws was the 350 percent increase in university fees.
Fees have gone up from ZWL$9, 000 to almost ZWL$40, 000.
Where the hell are we supposed to get all this money to pay for our children’s education? At this rate most university students will surely drop out.
One wonders how the government this scandalous price hike the go-ahead when they are well aware most people can barely make ends meet.
But then again, these decision-makers seem to be so detached from reality.
No wonder Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube saw it fit to extend US$15 guarantee on loans taken by private companies from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe instead of channeling the money to something that will benefit the povo.
The Minister has been heavily criticised for mortgaging state resources to support private companies and non-essential projects but then again, does he care?
Some of the surety provided is for a loan taken by a hotel in Vic Falls – your guess is as good as mine as who owns the place…. a close associate of a big fish in government.