UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has charged that the decision by the PF government to retain the retirement age at 65 years despite promising to reverse it to 55 years once elected is another clear case of ‘continuity with donchi kubeba’ syndrome.
Mr Hichilema in a statement says the argument that government has no money to pay retirees at the moment is simply an admission of poor fiscal planning and a lack of vision.
He points out that the PF government admitted to spending over K200 million on by-elections since 2011, not including additional money wasted during the campaigns.
Mr Hichilema says this amount, alone with other areas where government continues to waste revenues, such as payment of a bloated Cabinet, would have gone a long way to off-set retirees benefits.
He states that the UPND argument is that the PF government is not doing enough to address the underlying issue of high unemployment, and by maintaining the retirement age at 65 the army of unemployed youths who are energetic, qualified and ready to take up these jobs, are left standing on the sidelines.
He adds that what is even worse is the PF has failed to create a conducive environment for the young and self-employed to succeed in private business and enterprise.
Mr Hichilema says the current unstable and uncertain economic situation is damaging to both local businesses and would-be entrepreneurs and comes as a direct result of government mismanagement and lack of vision.
He further states that another impact of the reversal of policy on retirement is the demoralization of employees at various levels who cannot advance in their careers, with spaces above them occupied by others who want to move on to other things.
Mr Hichilema says there is need for the human aspect of this policy on retirees to be fully considered by the PF government.