Re­tirees de­mand in­crease in pen­sion as food prices soar

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - 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.

Photo: news­

Bayelsa pen­sion­ers on the street.

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