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Government takes blame on rampant poverty among retirees

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Retired public servants cannot access their pension on time because the government does not have enough personnel to process the payments.

Labour CS Ukur Yatani on Wednesday said the pension scheme, despite being understaffed, has never been adjusted to cater for standards of the cost of living forcing 220,000 public service retirees into poverty.

“The plight of retired officers include the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) recommendation of 2014. The absence of regular review and increase of pension before 2005 severely eroded the purchasing power of pensioners,” Yatani said.

The CS was speaking during the Kenya Association of Retired Officers (KARO) annual general meeting at a Nairobi hotel.

“We already have the Cabinet Memorandum due for submission to the Cabinet for Proposal for regular cost of living adjustments. As a government we have also identified other issues which will be rectified using the laws in place,” the CS said.

Yatan said the government will review the widows and children’s pensions act cap 195 so that the scheme includes widowers to make it compatible with the provisions and spirit of the current constitution on equality and fair labour practice.

“We call on all stakeholders to come together and support us so that we can secure the future of our people,” Kora Chairman Ibrahim Hussein said.

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The CS said the current scenario where a pension is subjected to three per cent every increase in two years consigns the retirees to poverty and early death.

SRC had recommended a one-off increment of pension for the retired public servant, which is yet to be implemented,” he said.

The CS said that the current pension benefit is less than the average absolute poverty average of Sh 4,624 per adult per month.

Sadly, according to the KNBS economic survey of 2018, it has been realized that of the 220,000 public Service retirees in Kenya drawing a pension, about 25 per cent earn less than Sh4,000 per month. This sorry undesirable state of affairs needs immediate intervention,” he said.

He said the Ministry is in the process of reviewing the National Social Protection policy, which will address the issues of social security, social assistance and health insurance for all to complement efforts undertaken by the ministry of health.

Revision of various acts especially the Pensions Act CAP189 to address existing disparities and inequalities in payment of pensions,” he said.

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