Senior citizens cry for social scheme

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THE Senior Citizens Association of Zambia (SCAZ) has called on Government to establish a welfare scheme for the elderly in the country.

SCAZ national treasurer Cosmas Chileshe said the organisation would like a national social fund for the older persons to be introduced.

He said at the International Day of the Older Persons in Lusaka yesterday that older persons should be funded from taxation and mineral proceeds.

“We are calling on Government to provide and sustain structures, resources and other provisions including a national commission for older and aging persons, a national non contributory health scheme, a national social pension and a national fund for persons to be funded from taxation, mineral and oil rights,” he said.

Mr Chileshe said the monthly pension for people who had retired from the Public Service was very low and could not sustain their livelihood.

Platform for social Protection Zambia (PSPZ) programme assistant Susan Chiwenda said her organisation was looking forward to a policy that would mitigate hardships, reduce poverty, social segregation and economic inequality of senior citizens through the universal pension for all the aged.

Ms Chiwewa said the Network of Aging and Social Protection and PSPZ had been actively involved in the advocacy for secure incomes for older persons through the social security policy which was however put on hold.

“The network on ageing and social protection which is a network of organisations being coordinated by Platform for Social Protection (PSPZ) has been actively involved in the advocacy for secure incomes for older persons through the social security policy.

“However the Social Security policy formulation process has been put on hold to necessitate further consultations and pave way for the national social protection policy. We have therefore diverted our focus to the national social protection policy in which social security is included,” she said.

SCAZ executive director Rosemary Sishimba said old people usually felt left out and intimidated as they always had to depend on others for survival.

Ms Sishimba commended the Government for recognising this day and making it official in the country.