Another look at our retirement polity

EDITORIAL 08 Jan 2021
Another look at our  retirement polity

Towards the close of the just ended financial year, government ordered the harmonization of the retirement age of Cameroon workers. This might not have gone down well with those who believe that the rate of unemployment has forced many Cameroonians into the informal sector and that the issue if the harmonization does not mean much for those in that sector. This being so because the greater advantage of this harmonization goes in favour of the formal sector of our economy.
We in this Newspaper, welcome this decision for the simple reason that, it will close up the gap which stood between the retirement ages in different ministerial departments of the public service, as well as government corporations. In the present dispensation, the retirement age has been increased from 55 to 60 years. Workers who were already due retirement, now have a five year-grace to fall in line with new dispensation. But even as we welcome this decision, we have some serious worries concerning the management of this new situation. We are worried that all along, the retirement process has usually been bogged by certain lapses that cast very dark shadows over the new dispensation which we are about to be introduced into.
In the first place within past sixty years or so, since independence, we have not been able to organize ourselves in providing a central data collection formula where-by, adequate information can be gathered concerning such issues as, when a worker is due his leave, when his retirement is due, how to prepare one’s retirement benefits well in advance. What actually happens is that, it is only when one has been served with his retirement notice that he starts compiling documents with which to pursue his or her retirement benefits. In most unfortunate cases, it turns out to be a most cumbersome process to the extent that some retired workers have died without going through the process.
We strongly recommend therefore that, before entering into any contract with any new worker, the above mentioned formalities must be addressed in a way that will enable every new comer joining the civil service, for example to already bear in mind that his exit will be as friendly as his entry into the public service. It is also pertinent to sound the warning bell that, corruption has eaten deep into the marrow or our bones, to the extent that most people have opted for the criminal tendency of reducing their ages to enable them stay on their jobs even when their physical fitness overtly betrays them. There are others who may opt to raise their years of birth for one reason or the other.
Unfortunately however, even as we might have hailed the harmonisation of the retirement age, by increasing the number of years in service, our other worry concerns a generation out there, whom we are certain, may be cursing government for increasing the retirement age of their fathers, while they are being left in the cold under the burden of unemployment. It is obvious that in the next few weeks, on the occasion the Youth Day celebrations, the head of state will seize another golden opportunity to flatter the Youths that the future lies in their hands, when in actual fact they are a degraded generation. The only option left is for government to consider seriously the option of job creation. No matter which ever way we look at it, the Youths have been flattered enough and are yearning for a better future.

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