Labour day fete: Soroti Council Speaker wants retirement age slashed to 50

As Uganda and the World celebrate the International Labour Day under the theme is “Promoting Employment through Enhanced Public Infrastructure Development”, government has been asked to reduce retirement age for public servants.

The current retirement age for public servants is at 60 years, but Bob Owinyi, the deputy speaker Soroti district council wants it slashed to 50 years.

This he said will allow unemployed graduates in the country to get an opportunity of joining public service.

Owiny, who is also the district youth councilor noted with concern that unless the retirement age is revised, older persons above 60 years will continue holding public offices while their children and grandchildren are yawning constantly due to biting unemployment.

Owinyi who is also the district youth councilor says that something drastic measure is needed to tackle youth unemployment. 

According to Owiny, it doesn’t make sense for Uganda to allow people to work until they are 60 when the country’s males have a life expectancy of only 49 years.

Uganda has one of the fastest growing and youngest populations in the world, with a typical woman having six children or more, and nearly 80% of the 32m citizens are under the age of 30.

“Workers must retire before they lose their productivity,” he said. “We have people staying in the same position for too long”.

If implemented, tens of thousands of teachers, judges, doctors, police officers and other administrative officials will be immediately sent home, with further 30,000 more dispatched home each year.

But his statement has turned controversial, raising debate over the value of older workers.

John Peter Onyipa, the chairperson Teso Elderly Persons’ Organization says the country cannot afford to discard so many skilled personnel, especially in areas such as health and education, where there is already lack of manpower. 

“There are also questions of how the government will meet the additional pension obligations,” said Onyipa.

Stephen Abeku, an elder from Asuret sub-county in Soroti district said that reducing retirement age will not address unemployment among Ugandan youth due to huge number of students graduating with various disciplines across all universities and tertiary institutions annually.

He, therefore, urged the unemployed graduates to stop eyeing for limited white-collar jobs and instead engage in commercial agriculture and other income generating ventures.

The national celebration took place in Agago district, northern Uganda. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, graced it.

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