A study of the challenges being faced in funding the Zambezi River authority pension fund.
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Companies and indeed governments all over the world have tried to secure the future of their employees by setting up pension schemes (Wallace 2002). However, pension contributions might become a huge unbearable expenditure for some organizations, as this presentation will show. While initially most companies willing to set up a pension scheme would almost always regard the Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Scheme as the scheme of first choice, the trend has since changed (Ross and Wills 2002) over the years. Possible causes responsible for this shift in focus are many (Twinney 1995). The shift could have contributed to some companies sponsoring Defined Benefit schemes to have a rethink on which type of pension scheme to operate. Zambezi River Authority is a quasi-government entity operating in both Zambia and Zimbabwe. It set up a DB pension scheme for its employees in 1987 and has not been spared from this pressure to re-examine its pension fund. In recent years the Zambezi River Authority Pension Scheme has recorded huge shortfalls (Zambezi River Authority Pension Scheme Accounts 1999 to 2004). This has resulted in the employer struggling to pay up his pension obligations. Sooner or later, if nothing is done, the pension scheme will probably not be able to meet the objectives for which it was set up. The purpose of this study is to investigate and discuss the problems being faced by the Zambezi River Authority Pension Scheme. The paper outlines the different types of pension funds and compares them with the type of fund the Zambezi River Authority operates. The results of this study show that while the benefit structure of the Zambezi River Authority Pension Fund could have been relevant at the time the fund was set up, circumstances have substantially changed from what they were then. It is argued in the study that if no action is taken, the Zambezi River Authority Pension Scheme is likely to collapse. It is recommended in the study that the Zambezi River Authority Pension Scheme should be changed from a Defined Benefit Scheme to a Defined Contribution Scheme. It is also recommended that the management of the scheme should be changed and that the scheme should invest in portfolios that bring positive returns. Above all, it is recommended that members should take a more active role in the affairs of their pension scheme.