Contrary to UPND assertions, New Retirement Age is in the Best Interest of the Workers

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Joyce Nonde-Simukoko
Joyce Nonde-Simukoko

By Mrs. Joyce Nonde Simukoko

As Chairperson for Labour and Social Security of the PF Central Committee, I wish to respond to some uninformed positions expressed by opposition UPND leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema on the retirement age and social security for workers.

1) It is regrettable that opposition UPND leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema who aspire for the highest political office in Zambia continue to issue ignorant statements saying if he is elected President he would reverse the retirement age from 65 to 55 years because people would be too tired to run their own business if they wished to do so after their retirement.

Our Response:

When the Patriotic Front came to power in 2011 we consulted with the labour movement and the tripartite consultative council consisting of employers, employees and government. Several meetings were held and the tripartite consultative council proposed the intention on retirement age which offered three (3) options. When President Lungu came to power in January 2015 he concluded what government had started with the unions in consultation with the workers and employers.

In March 2015 President Edgar Lungu directed the Ministry of Justice to immediately revise the law on retirement age to provide for three (3) options an employee can exercise to retire. The President’s directive was very flexible and the following changes were made through an amendment to Statutory Instrument (SI) No.63 of 2014 to introduce a flexible graduated arrangement that will afford employees the following options:

a) Early Retirement – 55 years (discretion of the employee who should give notice to the employer while aged 54 years i.e. 12 months before. The employer cannot refuse).
b) Normal Retirement – 60 years (normal/compulsory retirement age)
c) Late Retirement – 65 years (discretion of the employer if employer still needs the skills of the employee since it is past the normal retirement age (60). Negotiable with the employee).

Hence, Mr. Hichilema and other less informed or malicious people should know that there is no rigidity involved in this arrangement as government is NOT forcing employees to retire at 65 years but has instead provided this flexible graduated arrangement which actually empowers employees to make their own choice either to retire at 55 or 65 years.

2) Mr. Hichilema says he would reverse the retirement age from 65 to 55 years because people would be too tired to run their own business if they wished to do so after their retirement.

Our Response:

Mr. Hichilema should know that there is NO law in the country which forbids workers from engaging in their own private businesses while in active employment. Workers do not have to wait for retirement to start their own businesses or build their own houses because waiting till retirement to start a business or build a house as Mr. Hichilema insinuates is just too risky. There is enough evidence to show that many people who start businesses after retirement age using pension benefits never succeed and end up bankrupt and destitute with lots of regrets. The purpose of pension and social security in general is to look after a retired worker and cushion their needs till the end of life, not to use for business activities. Unlike Mr. Hichilema’s thinking, the position of the PF government is to encourage workers to start businesses and own houses while they are still in active employment and not wait until they are old.

3) UPND falsely attributes youth unemployment in Zambia to people taking longer to retire, hence denying young people of employment opportunities and worsening youth unemployment.

Our Response:

Retirement or Pensionable Age does NOT drive unemployment!
Mr. Hichilema does not seem to understand that it’s not retirement or pensionable age that drives unemployment, as the Central Statics Office (CSO) has clearly demonstrated. Mr. Hichilema should understand that the population pyramid in a developing country like Zambia which is mostly a youthful population is the complete opposite of the population pyramids in developed countries with aging populations.

In the Zambian job market those in retirement age only constitute 5% while youths looking for jobs account for 65%. Hence even if Mr. Hichilema chases all the 5% retirees the unemployment situation for young people would still be negligible since 60% of them would still remain unemployed. In Europe by contrast the aging population is the majority. The longer people take to retire from employment there the more they deprive young people of job opportunities. This is simple arithmetic which Zambian voters expect anyone aspiring for the highest office in the land to comprehend.

4) Insolvency of the Pension Schemes

Our Response:

Perhaps Mr. Hichilema is too comfortable to understand that most public and local pension funds have over the past 50 years become technically insolvent due to various challenges and are in billions of kwacha in debt. Hence in the short-term, the PF government’s measure to institute a flexible graduated retirement systems provides immediate relief on the Pension Schemes and the National Treasury since the number of people leaving is reduced. We urge Mr. Hichilema to consult with experts at the Ministry of labour and Social Security to gain further understanding.

And we are happy that the PF government has instituted Pension Reforms to ensure that workers’ pension schemes are solvent, profitable and sustainable in the long term. Government is working very hard to ensure that all retirees are paid their pension benefits in full. The PF Labour and Social Security Committee of the Central Committee will also soon be engaging unions, associations and employers on the best modalities to support retirees.
We therefore call on the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Pension Boards and Unions to continue sensitizing the workers and the public on this straight forward issue and not fall prey to the political machinations of the likes of Mr. Hichilema.

MRS. JOYCE NONDE SIMUKOKO,
PATRIOTIC FRONT (PF) CHAIRPERSON FOR LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE

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50 COMMENTS

  1. You may paint him green,black but he’s the only saviour. Joyce where have you bn all along?

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    • I am UPND but on this one HH is very wrong. I agree with Mr Joyce Nonde Simukoko on the following:

      a) Early Retirement – 55 years (discretion of the employee who should give notice to the employer while aged 54 years i.e. 12 months before. The employer cannot refuse).
      b) Normal Retirement – 60 years (normal/compulsory retirement age)
      c) Late Retirement – 65 years (discretion of the employer if employer still needs the skills of the employee since it is past the normal retirement age (60). Negotiable with the employee).

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    • We all know the genesis of the amended retirement act; it was to meant to make room for some PF cadres were beyond the retirement age and appointed to influence key decisions. It may look nice on paper but in reality it means youths hoping for those vacancies – the law has just made it impossible for get my job since am hired for for another 10 years unless I want to retire early. This gimmick works well when the government is broke and can’t pay benefits – it buys time , but somebody will have to still pay the retirement benefits, probably worthless then to the beneficiary!

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  2. I doubt if the so called HH can lead this great nation properly. The guy is a big chancer as he lacks lots of knowledge and experience on issues of governance. Shame!

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  3. @Nalali, how can he be our only savior when has failed to save one of his vice presidents in the name of Dr. CAnisius BAnda

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    • Canisius is an adult male. He should be able to look after himself. Do not expect HH to come an feed you when he becomes President. All he can do is give you an enabling environment, easy terms terms to start a business, affordable agricultural in puts, value addition initiatives, employment opportunities, etc. After this you take charge of your life. Canisius had a CIVIL sERVICE JOB, HE WAS being paid, he must have got his benefits, what did he do with them?? He is being paid at the UPND secretariat, what does he do with his money? You are the type of people who will expect your ba shibukombe to join you in bed with your wife long after the wedding day to help sire offspring! It your call son, you fail alone, you were shown the ropes, get on with it.

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    • Are you sure this is an intelligent response. I would like to look at it as a distortion of facts rendering this response ‘Shallow and void’.
      For instance, that 65 years retirement will be at the discretion of the employer is a sure way of keeping all old people in organizations due to the experience they gain in service. Almost everyone can claim to be useful at that age given their experience. Five of such individuals in one company per year is a loss on five youths that could have been employed in their place.
      Secondly, We all know that it is particularly difficult (though not impossible) to run a succesful business while working. Usually, one has to resign if they think that their business has greater hopes. So am afraid HH is right when he talks about strength after retirement…

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  4. Madam Nonde simukoko stop yapping lets put things straight here.1.With a small retiree group as you put it than youths looking for employment is wise to increase the retirement age further so that we have more unemployed youths even that 5% you are talking about it can help for a start.2.you said most pension funds are insolvent and hence can not pay retirees on time.my question is how did Mwanawasa and Magande manage to pay retirees on time.By 2007 a civil servant was paid within 2 weeks his dues.PF have stolen the money for workers fund over quoted roads in Muchinga.3.Pf is now paying small amounts retirees need there lump sum especially those who are business minded why keep their dues when they can multiply it through business and employ many.Ba ka bolala give people their money.

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  5. let us industrialize the rural poor by exempting excise duties for firms wanting to invest in the rural poor. creation of MFZ in the cities is good but we need a deliberate policy to incentify firms wanting to go rural. Creation of integrated rural business centers would greatly instill confidence to the rural poor to begin participating in the economic activities of the nation, creation of job opportunities and reduce city migration

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  6. Madam Nonde you encouraging more civil servants to be in business while they are working this creates more thieves in government. What can stop these permanent secretaries to award themselves big contracts.KK never wanted that he wanted professional civil servants who were ready to sacrifice for Zambia.Most civil servants earn less and hence can not go serious business un less the Kapoko type.Thats what you want madam simukoko.

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  7. Chiluba and MMD thieves did not pay retirees their money,instead they were diverting their money to other useless expenditure.Mwanwasa and Magande started crearing these pension funds from 2003 upto 2007.By 2008 all civil servants who retired were given their money and all those retiring were paid within weeks their Lump sum. This helped them to become investors in there own country. Alot of youths were employed by retirees in poultry farms or hardware houses. Come RB he started misusing the pension fund by 2011 the quell was long from 0 to 9000 un paid retirees and now under PF the list can reach heaven.This is as a result of poor leadership and criminality.Pension funds have become sources of quick money to PF government.Stealling people’s contributions signing a death warrant to old…

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  8. This Chi-nondo is very stupid,she was hiding in the name of labour leader kanshi-ni ca-PF cadre!What we have on the ground is totally different from this pathetic Nondo!One normal adult will start worrying as to what happens to the youth with PF’s retirement age?Which research or consultation took place & with who-when you do a stupid one only within your friends that doesn’t represents the masses or the general view!All those rantings from Cinondo are useless & unrepresentative of the unemployed masses & let alone the employed ones as the PF is ever broke!

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    • @civilised Sam do you think read before you expose your st.upidity. You are attacking Joyce leaving your McDonald chipenzi who has even tumbled in the primaries

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  9. Be 55 and leave the job for a youth so that you can start business or settle down to something else.
    The youth who are unemployed should know that in an economy where job creation is not robust and there is no social security, it it very difficult for parents to continue supporting young men and women who are unemployed.
    I still think 30 years in employment is enough.

    The reason why developed countries have long retirement ages is because that way they do not have to pay unemployment benefits and associated higher health costs that come with age. Anyway, PF is in power and HH is not stopping them from implementing their policies.
    Ms Nonde can talk as much as she wants.

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    • Kudos and Nonde, you are as mendacious as your duplicity.

      I oppose the increase in the retirement age for the sole reason that it deprives entry of our youths onto the job market. No one will retire voluntarily before 60 years and politicians will automatically extend cadre contracts to 65 years.

      Zambian youths, don’t be deceived by Joyce. Vote for a party that will make mandatory retirement are at 55 with an option of early retirement from 45 years!

      Let’s share the cake and allow our children to get into formal employment than creating table spaces in shop corridors whilst old people are in offices etc

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  10. He has really squeezed your balls, that is why cadres like kudos are in constant scrotal pain.

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    • Truly said @ brad, and I say many in PF have sleepless nights over HH and UPND! Its like Zambia has no other politicians or parties such that a sneeze or cough so long its by HH those in PF have to comment or make a response though I don’t understand the language of a cough or sneeze!

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  11. Well articulated, one really wonders if hh thinks. Most upnd cadres here have not even ready the article in full balesabailafye.

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    • Are you sure this is an intelligent response. I would like to look at it as a distortion of facts rendering this response ‘Shallow and void’.
      For instance, that 65 years retirement will be at the discretion of the employer is a sure way of keeping all old people in organizations due to the experience they gain in service. Almost everyone can claim to be useful at that age given their experience. Five of such individuals in one company per year is a loss on five youths that could have been employed in their place.
      Secondly, We all know that it is particularly difficult (though not impossible) to run a succesful business while working. Usually, one has to resign if they think that their business has greater hopes. So am afraid HH is right when he talks about strength after retirement…

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  12. HH wrong in this regard , although I support him, not everyone has a business acumen, so he should not make his reality,that he was successful in business to be everyone’s

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  13. Nonde,explain why all the pensions deductions are not effected when one reaches 55 because this is what is on the payslips of those above 55… And since you stop deducting them where will you get the package to give them from? be sincere,Mwilabepa abantu but anyway people make the choices whether wrong or right…ZAMBIANS will cry after attaining 65

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  14. Lazy bums. What is the life expectancy in Zambia?. How many youths are graduating from colleges, universities etc.. every year?. Why should lazy bums be employed up to 65. how can one be productive at over 50 yrs?

    This is an excuse of parasitic people like joyce. Leave and create room for young stars.
    Please youths kick out these people who have failed to prepare for their own retirement.

    Vote HH and create opportunities for you to be employed lest you wait until they are 65yrs

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    • You are symptomatic what is so wrong with current crop of misguided Zambian youth who think only they can run the country. I happen to be over 50 years old and teach mathematics to younger people at one of our universities. If we older people are so useless, how come we are still teaching you all these complicated subjects and some of you can’t even grasp what I teach?

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  15. I wish to see professionals in different circles of life to put hallucinating UPND in line. They are extremely delusional.

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    • Yes because PF is just full of lazy bums who just want to have it easy, the PF free loaders who just love to have freebies. To them it from the office to the grave.

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  16. Really Zambians are safe with PF, HH and UPND mostly patronise Zambians whom they think are too stupid to work through their lies. It’s interesting they make a claim that only uneducated. Insane Zambians vote PF, but in truth, they relay on their supporters to be ignorant of parliamentary, consultative processes that mandate the way Gov’t reaches it’s decisions and passes it’s edicts.

    Western populations are ageing because of good health care but that is now a problem as budgets for care of the aged is very high, and these groups are no longer economically active and present a burden on the national budget. Pensions are also not as secure as before the credit crunch. I would say Zambia faces the same problems as other countries in demographic considerations.

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    • This defence was polished and shows PF under President Lungu is a professional outfit! His Excellency has managed to curb excesses of wild and ranging PF under our dear Sata. I hope all PF structures, especially Youth will put on their best behaviour and avoid all provocations from the desperado opposition parties.

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  17. As Labour consultant its evident that from the age group below here you will know where to get your best output.
    18-35 years performance or output is at its highest point-let say 100%
    36-45 years performances is around 80-90%
    46-55 years perfomance drops to 60 -75%
    56-65 years performance is around 50-65%
    65-75 years performance is below 50%.
    If you check the efficiency levels you get more returns the first two groups above than what you get from the lat two age groups-55-56 and 66-75.

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    • Mmmmm @Abena Figgers! Is efficiency measured by experience on the job or by a Youthful Sprint through the work place!!

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    • @Abena Diggers Town

      According to your breakdown HH’s retirement age at 55 makes sense. Now the most productive group is deliberately kept out of employment in preference for tired octogenarians ready to kick the bucket. Most things are just common sense. I believe people should retire early while they still have enough energy to pursue their individual goals rather than wait till you are 65! This is insane. When do you enjoy the fruits of all your labours when you are this old? It’s almost like a prison sentence: 18 years schooling and another 43 years of sweating to make another company rich.

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    • 18-45 years age group have no experience. How can they takeover from the 65-75 year old age group?

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  18. In most countries the retirement age is between 58 and 65, most actually being between 60 and 65. Lowering the retirement age will not create a significaant change in terms of job opportunities. The so-called developed countries and the c´democracies we so proudly want to follow have their retirements between 60 and 65, and yet many of them still have reasonable unemployment levels. Job creationis a question of industry and service delivery systems. This argument only makes the younger people over-excited and is aimed at getting their vote, but this premise of retirement age alone will not solve anything.

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  19. Well explained madam Nonde Simukoko!!HH IS ALWAYS OFF SIDE ON MANY NATIONAL ISSUES!!I WONDER WHY UPND HAVE KEPT HH ON TOP OF THEIR PARTY!!INDEED HH IS AN UNDER 5 POLITICIAN!!”IFINTU NI LUNGU-2016!!!”GO PF GO!!

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  20. Though Mr HH’s view of looking at the retirement vs youth unemployment issue in Zambia is an attempt at a solution, unfortunately it is simplistic. A very close look at the factors at play will reveal the reason for the high unemployment, retirement age playing only a minor part.

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  21. Pf govt went alone to impose retirement age of 65 years without adequate consultations with other stakeholders for fear that ministers Chikwanda, ?nonge Wina, etc would be shown the exit door. Just make 55 years as compusily age for retirement not what we are seeing in great grand father Alexander Chikwinda in 90’s still in employment. When are our children with degrees be employed in those positions? PF out

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  22. Zambia’s GDP growth rate is estimated at 1% in 2016 while population growth rate is 3.05% and unemployment is 80% and therefore it makes sense to reduce the retirement from 65 to 55 years to allow upward labour mobilty in the Civil Service.
    Govt is the biggest employer in Zambia and as such HH is correct in wanting to reduce the retirement age from 65 to 55 years.

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  23. ministers are not civil servants they serve at the presidents pleasure….here we are referring to serving public servants PS and below….anyway my concern/ why are we retirees not paid on time?

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  24. In fact Mrs. Simukoko you should not be doing office work at your age, you should be out there on your farm and reduce the unemployed youths who are roaming the streets, but instead you are like a tick drinking its blood. Leave office work for youngsters, your time has already passed.

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  25. I totally agree with Joyce Simukoko on this one too. HH is wrong and he would not retire at 55

    Not every individual wants to run a business venture after retirement. Some people want to rest and enjoy family time. they do not want to run errands selling milk or beef products, or eggs and chickens after having worked for so many years.
    Just create more jobs in Zambia – retirement does not increase jobs for job seekers. New job-seekers come to a job with very little expertise and skills, and expierence, they need their seniors to guide them through work ethics and help them settle in their jobs.

    I am now beginning to doubt if HH has the knowledge and skills to lead Zambia – this is a very strong warning for all those who are about to VOTE in August….! I have having second thoughts…

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  26. Most politicians are over 55 years but still seeking jobs including vj and munkombwe.

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  27. Let us have the 18-45 year old age groups as politicians as someone said they give 100% productivity..! HH is too old for this job..!
    Inexperienced leaders we have in Zambia are going to send the whole nation to the dogs..!
    VOTE WISELY

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