THE revised retirement age has become flexible as employees have the option of retiring between the age of 55 and 65 years and Hakainde Hichilema is ‘‘a misguided political soul’’ who does not understand that the graduated retirement is the best for Zambians, the Patriotic Front (PF) has said.
PF chairperson for labour and social security Joyce Nonde-Simukoko said it was regrettable that Mr Hichilema, who is the UPND leader, could issue an ignorant statement on the revised retirement age.
Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said the current law on the retirement age provided three options which were flexible as opposed to the misunderstanding by Mr Hichilema that the retirement age had been restricted to 65 years.
Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said the amendment to the Statutory Instrument no. 63 of 2014 had introduced a flexible and graduated retirement arrangement that would allow employees choose to either retire at an early age of 55, or the normal age of 60 with an option to go on late retirement at 65 years old.
She said Mr Hichilema and other less informed and malicious people should know that there was no rigidity in the current retirement age structure and that Government was not forcing employees to retire at the late age of 65.
Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said in a statement yesterday that it was regrettable that Mr Hichilema was threatening that he would reverse the current retirement age structure which had given workers the opportunity to choose to retire between 55 and 65 years.
Mr Hichilema has vowed that should the UPND win the general elections in August, his government would immediately move to reverse the retirement age to 55 years because, according to him, people would be too tired to run their own business after retiring at 65 years.
“It is regrettable that opposition UPND leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, who aspires for the highest political office in Zambia, continues 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 businesses if they wished to do so after their retirement.
“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,” Mrs Nonde Simukoko said.
She explained that there was no law in the country that restricted workers from engaging in their private businesses while in active employment, stating that employees did not have to wait for retirement to set up their own businesses or even build houses. Mrs Simukoko said the purpose of pension and social security was to look after retired workers and cushion their needs until the end of their lives and not to be used to set up businesses.
She said it was important for Mr Hichilema to know and understand that it was not the retirement age that was creating unemployment in Zambia as current statics showed that only 5 percent constituted the retirement age in the country’s job market while youths looking for jobs were at 65 percent.