Editorial: The elderly need to retire with dignity

Over the years, the pension body, Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) has grown in both assets and stature. Its portfolio has been boosted by investments in real estate and medical insurance and other strategic investments.

But one blot on its stellar performance has been failing to address pensioners’ concerns especially those of the pre-1994 era. During that time, the top salary in the civil service was around Rwf 30,000 per month.

So it is understandable that today, the pension the person gets is not commensurate with today’s cost of living. Elderly pensioners have been petitioning the government for many years to readjust their benefits but in vain.

Maybe the government will be able to work around that problem in due course, but the most pressing issue is medical insurance.

To echo the words of the Rwanda Elderly Advisory Forum (REAF), those who retired before 2003, before the policy to grant medical insurance to retired civil servants came into force, are in a tight fix; they are not included in the new arrangement.

Retirees are at a stage where they most need medical care and decent benefits and this country owes it to them. Abandoning them now is a show of ingratitude for their years of service. If the government is not able to foot their bills on its own, it can always devise new strategies.

Incidentally, we have in place Agaciro (dignity) Development Fund which would really serve its name well if it intervened, and if that is not possible, something similar to the maternity leave strategy that solved a pressing issue of mothers could be used.

But whatever the case, something needs to be done to accompany years of loyal service with dignity, that is the least we can do.