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Zambians Call for Retirement Age Reduction for Youth Employment

retirement age

Zambians Call for Retirement Age Reduction for Youth Employment

Africa is a youthful continent with plenty of resources and diverse talent. However, she has one big challenge: The unemployment rate. Though there had been tremendous efforts in creating job opportunities, the COVID-19 pandemic came to cause major disruptions. As a result of massive job losses, Africa’s efforts at decreasing the unemployment rate were minimised. As of 2020, the current rate is over 20%.

Similar Article: What we Can Learn from the Current State of Pension in Nigeria

Some of the challenges that have been cited in the journey to create opportunities include uneven distribution of resources, tough economic hurdles that make entrepreneurship difficult, and high retirement ages. In the last few months, Zambia elected a new government into power, which means they voted for a change in leadership and ideologies. The Federation of Free Trade Unions (FFTUZ) has decided to grab hold of this opportunity to push for a change in the age of retirement in Zambia.

What Changes is the FFTUZ Proposing?

1. Reduced Retirement Age

The current age of retirement in Zambia is 60, with 65 as the maximum limit for late retirement and 55 as the minimum for early retirement. According to a tweet by Zambia Daily Mail, the FFTUZ now wants the new government to consider lowering the maximum retirement age to 55. They claim that doing so will open up more opportunities for the youth that are leaving tertiary academic institutions.

On the other side, their push for a lower age of retirement is also beneficial to retirees. Retirement has been made synonymous with death. Lower retirement age could change this narrative. When people retire young, they still have the energy to pursue new and different ventures i.e. a hobby or a passion. Retirees can venture into farming as an investment of consultancy based on their field and years of expertise. As a result, there will be fewer obligations for pension plans which proves beneficial as they have more time and avenues to save.

2. Management of Pension Plans

The FFTUZ is also pushing for a change in the way pension plans are managed. In many instances, employees who attain the retirement age are not given their promised payments due to a lack of money in the fund. The underlying problem of this is that contributions made over their working life were not remitted. As a result, regardless of how long or how hard they worked, retirees end up becoming poor and dependent on their families for survival. 

The FFTUZ believes that as long as the government can remit pension arrears and ensure pension houses have a system in place that will ensure there is always enough money to pay pensioners, a reduction in the retirement age will be welcome as it will create more opportunities for the youth.

3. Business Environment

Another change that is being proposed is the review of the current legislation on business. They are calling for the government to create a suitable environment for entrepreneurship. This will not only allow retirees to have something new to venture into but will also pave the way for the youth to earn a living by becoming self-employed.

Summary

Zambia recently elected a new government and the Federation of Free Trade Unions (FFTUZ) is championing a reduction in the retirement age that will create opportunities for the youth.

Africa is a youthful continent with plenty of resources and diverse talent. However, she has one big challenge: The unemployment rate. Though there had been tremendous efforts in creating job opportunities, the COVID-19 pandemic came to cause major disruptions. As a result of massive job losses, Africa’s efforts at decreasing the unemployment rate were minimised. As of 2020, the current rate is over 20%.

Similar Article: What we Can Learn from the Current State of Pension in Nigeria

Some of the challenges that have been cited in the journey to create opportunities include uneven distribution of resources, tough economic hurdles that make entrepreneurship difficult, and high retirement ages. In the last few months, Zambia elected a new government into power, which means they voted for a change in leadership and ideologies. The Federation of Free Trade Unions (FFTUZ) has decided to grab hold of this opportunity to push for a change in the age of retirement in Zambia.

What Changes is the FFTUZ Proposing?

1. Reduced Retirement Age

The current age of retirement in Zambia is 60, with 65 as the maximum limit for late retirement and 55 as the minimum for early retirement. According to a tweet by Zambia Daily Mail, the FFTUZ now wants the new government to consider lowering the maximum retirement age to 55. They claim that doing so will open up more opportunities for the youth that are leaving tertiary academic institutions.

On the other side, their push for a lower age of retirement is also beneficial to retirees. Retirement has been made synonymous with death. Lower retirement age could change this narrative. When people retire young, they still have the energy to pursue new and different ventures i.e. a hobby or a passion. Retirees can venture into farming as an investment of consultancy based on their field and years of expertise. As a result, there will be fewer obligations for pension plans which proves beneficial as they have more time and avenues to save.

2. Management of Pension Plans

The FFTUZ is also pushing for a change in the way pension plans are managed. In many instances, employees who attain the retirement age are not given their promised payments due to a lack of money in the fund. The underlying problem of this is that contributions made over their working life were not remitted. As a result, regardless of how long or how hard they worked, retirees end up becoming poor and dependent on their families for survival. 

The FFTUZ believes that as long as the government can remit pension arrears and ensure pension houses have a system in place that will ensure there is always enough money to pay pensioners, a reduction in the retirement age will be welcome as it will create more opportunities for the youth.

3. Business Environment

Another change that is being proposed is the review of the current legislation on business. They are calling for the government to create a suitable environment for entrepreneurship. This will not only allow retirees to have something new to venture into but will also pave the way for the youth to earn a living by becoming self-employed.

Summary

Zambia recently elected a new government and the Federation of Free Trade Unions (FFTUZ) is championing a reduction in the retirement age that will create opportunities for the youth.

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