Unemployment fund’s assets currently valued at R110bn – Hopefully the government will keep their hands off

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) currently has assets valued at R110-billion‚ Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant disclosed on Monday.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Democratic Alliance labour spokesman Michael Bagraim‚ Oliphant said that while the projected monthly contributions from September 1 2017 to August 31 2018 were expected to total R1.58-million‚ the monthly payment of claims was projected to be R801‚126 over this period.

These projections‚ the minister said‚ were based on the fund’s annual actuarial valuation report as at end-March 2017.

“Additional allowance for unemployment claims were made due to higher expected future unemployment rates. As per the quarterly labour force survey of 2017 Q1‚ unemployment increased by 1.2% over most recent quarter (from 26.5% to 27.7%). It is expected that this trend will persist for another four quarters so that the total increase in unemployment benefits is likely to be around 5%. As unemployment represents 80% of the total benefits paid by the fund‚ we expect a 4% increase in benefit payments overall.”

Oliphant clarified that the estimates were based on the economic growth forecast of the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee of 1% for 2017 after which it is expected to increase to 1.5% in 2018. It was also assumed that total salaries on which contributions are based will increase at inflation plus the economic growth forecast as set out above.

Meanwhile in a written reply to a parliamentary question by Economic Freedom Fighters MP Lehlohonolo Mokoena‚ Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane said that a total of 147‚187 jobs had been lost in the mining industry from the 611‚018 that existed in 1994 to end March this year.

The impact of mechanisation on job losses had been “very minimal”‚ the minister said. “Most of the jobs were lost due to decline in ore grades‚ reduced prices resulting from weakened demand‚ all of which led to operations’ restructuring.”


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