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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Speed up universal social pension scheme - call

30th December 2011
  Govt official: We are working on the proposal

The government has been urged to speed up the setting up of the universal social pension scheme which will enable senior citizens aged above 60 years to get a monthly earnings sustain their living.

Speaking to this paper some pension stakeholders said elderly citizens who had contributed much in development of the country were now helpless hence the need for the government to find a way of supporting them.

“The government should take a small percentage from all pensions funds which would be diverted to the universal social pension schemes,” suggested Sailas Lowokelo

He urged government to provide workers with better salaries so that when they retire from active work they would get adequate pension.

According to him universal pension in Tanzania will substantially reduce poverty not only among elderly households but would also spread over to the community at large especially when the pension recipients invest in small income generating activities (IGAs) owned by a group or individuals.

Costa Kanasyu said there was need for the government to make sure that elders live in peace and harmony after they have retired from active work.

“The strong economy we are witnessing today is a result of the good work done by these elders. The government should show appreciation to them,” he stated.

Already the government has started a process which would see that the aged are included in the universal pension scheme, according to assistant Commissioner for Labour (Social Protection) David Kaali, who stated: "Basically the Prime Minister and the President have agreed on the need for a universal social protection scheme and the groundwork has started,"

The move follows a study conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in conjunction with Help Age International, which revealed that it was possible to provide a USP to all senior citizens in the country at an affordable cost.

Kaali was quoted as saying discussions were going on within the government machinery, which will be followed by stakeholders' comments, the Cabinet and after which a Bill will be tabled before Parliament.

"I cannot tell you when the Bill will be tabled but different ministries need to discuss among themselves to see who will be responsible for what when the scheme starts," he said.

According to the study, there are around two million people aged 60 and above in Tanzania and live in almost one out of four households. Also, 82 per cent of them live in rural areas.

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