10 000 BDF Retirees Will Receive Their Pension Payments This Year – Serame

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10 000 BDF Retirees Will Receive Their Pension Payments This Year – Serame
10 000 BDF Retirees Will Receive Their Pension Payments This Year – Serame

Africa-Press – Botswana. The Minister of Finance Peggy Serame has assured retired soldiers that 10,000 of them will receive their pension payments this year as part of the government’s commitment to resolving a longstanding dispute with them.

Addressing the retired soldiers at a special meeting called by the President in Paje recently, Minister Serame stated: “The funds have already been transferred to the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) to facilitate the payment process.”

However, she warned that there may be delays due to government bureaucracy.

“We are also dealing with sensitive financial matters where meticulousness is paramount to ensure fairness to all parties,” she stated. “I trust that the process will yield good results.”

A priority

The retired soldiers who enlisted prior to 1stApril 2001 have been protesting the government’s decision to move their pension plan to BPOPF and demanding that their pension entitlements should be calculated in accordance with the regulations under the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Act.

At the same meeting, the Minister of Defence and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, emphasised that addressing tensions among various military associations is a priority of the government. “We will treat all military associations equally as we work to resolve their issues,” Minister Mmusi stated.

There have been tensions between military veterans’ associations in the course of which allegations that the association led by President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s brother, Brigadier Thulaganyo Masisi, was receiving preferential treatment and privileged information arose.

Low diamonds sales

Other associations have raised concerns that this favoured group was providing the government with misleading information and badmouthing the others in order to secure an upper hand over them.

For his part, President Masisi reaffirmed his commitment to addressing the grievances of the retired soldiers and urged them to remain patient amid the country’s economic challenges that are exacerbated by low sales of diamonds mainly because of the rise of synthetic diamonds.

“I am committed to addressing the grievances of our retired soldiers wherever possible,” the President stated. “However, I urge you to be patient as we navigate through economic challenges, including the decline in diamond sales which has affected our national revenue.”

He disclosed that P1.5 billion has been set aside to settle retired soldiers’ pensions.

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