Friday, 22 July 2016

Retirees Demand Increase in Pension As Food Prices Soar


By Francis Arinze Iloani
Pensions currently being paid to retirees do not reflect Nigeria's market realities of goods and services to enable them survive.

Pensioners who spoke exclusively to Daily Trust called for increase in pension in line with soaring prices of goods in the market.

Mr. James Olukosi, a pensioner who retired in 1992 from the Federal Capital Territory Education Department, said his pension had not been increased in the last 10 years despite yearly rising cost of living.

Olukosi told Daily Trust that he started earning N800 as pension as at retirement and had only benefited from two increments in pension during former President Olusegun Obasanjo's regime.

"There is an existing policy on pension increment. The policy says once workers' salaries are increased, pensions must also be increased. It's been over 10 years since the last time my pension was increased," he said.

The pensioner said he has been managing the little that comes in monthly as pension but it could no longer meet even 50 per cent of his needs.

"I don't have alternatives. I rely solely on my pension. We still have pensioners who receive N5,000 monthly as pension. Can you imagine? The media should help us," he said.

He said pensioners are facing challenges with eking out a living as prices of goods in the markets are rising.

The retiree lamented, "You can't compare this year and last year. Last year was fairly better than this year. Prices have gone up. Things are not improving."

He called on the government to consider the plight of pensioners and look into their "tough" situation.

"It is an experience I have never been through before. In fact, I can't qualify my situation as at now," he said.

Another retiree, who is a member of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mohammed Suleiman, told Daily Trust that the condition of retirees was getting worse under the prevailing economic downturn.

"We are the most affected than people who are still working. Don't forget that our pension is fixed and little and most of us are too old to work again," he said.

Speaking on what has changed between last year and this year, Suleiman said he recently had to increase the amount of money for feeding in the house by cutting other costs.

He said he had to forego many things, including going for hajj this year in order to keep his family going.

"I'm making sacrifices. My wife is also making sacrifices. We have decided not to put pressure on the children because they are also facing their own challenges," he said.

He also joined in calling on the government to consider increasing retirees' pensions to mitigate their plight.





Source; Vanguard

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