DAR ES SALAAM OCTOBER 13, 2015(CISA) – Help Age International, an international NGO that helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty has urged Contestants in the presidential and parliamentary elections to expound their visions and policies towards old age.
At a meeting in Dar Es Salaam, on October 12, Smart Daniel, the deputy Country Director, Help Age International, Tanzania said it is important that the electorate were made aware where these aspirants stand on the issue of old age that is projected to be a major challenge to the country’s sustainable development.
“We are having many Tanzanians aging without having had formal employment and in a country where the population of older persons is on the rise, it is sad that only 4 in 100 of people above 60 years have pension,” he said.
He added that it is important that the issue of older persons be brought at the centre of the election campaigns if the gains made under the outgoing government of Jakaya Kikwete in the mainland Tanzania and in Zanzibar are to be sustained and enhanced.
The Zanzibar government has promised to begin giving pension amounting to Tsh20, 000( USD92) to all older people above 70 beginning April 2016 while similar move is being called for in the mainland to implementing its promise to begin giving pensions in the next financial year.
Agreeing with the sentiments, Leonard Ndamugoba, Programme Manager, Health and Social Protection, Help Age Tanzania Country Office added that older people are the first institutions for the orphaned and vulnerable children where parents are not present.
The national census of 2012 showed that Tanzania has 2,507,568 older persons above 60, 1,307,358 of which are female and 1,200,210 male and that 80 percent of them are in villages subsisting either on farming, fishing or keeping livestock.
The statistics from the census show that 96 of all that enter the old age bracket and who ought to retire do so without any form of pension.