The Minister of Public Service, Anastase Murekezi, was yesterday at pains to convince lawmakers to pass the new proposed retirement age which is set at 65 years.
Murekezi tabled the retirement proposal while presenting a bill establishing the general statuses of the public service.
The current law puts retirement age at 55 years; however in 2008, a proposed bill which was tabled in parliament and later reversed had proposed to put retirement age at 50 years.
“Part of the new changes in the bill is that the retirement has been put at 65 years; however, the anticipated retirement age is optional and set at the age of 60,” said Murekezi.
The minister’s statement sparked animation heated debate among MPs who insisted that retirement age should instead be reduced to the earlier proposed 50 years.
MP Evariste Kalisa was the first to put the minister to task saying that the initial proposal of 50 years was mainly aimed at having vibrant people in the public service and wondered if the new proposal has any positive connotation to it.
“Our life expectancy is 52 years, how do you put retirement at 65 years,” MP Juvenal Nkusi questioned.
MP Damien Nyabyenda condemned some practices in the current retirement packages saying that lately, any person who retires at the age of 55 years would get benefits worth 12-month salary, while any person who exceeds 55 gets a six-month package.
“Is there any particular formula for this? I also object the 65 years retirement age,” said Nyabyenda.
In his analysis, MP Thoebald Mporanyi said that increasing retirement age to 65 years will increase the number of unemployed people in Rwanda.
“If the government is setting the retirement age, then it should come up with the age at which someone should start working,” said MP Marie Rose Mureshyankwano.
In his response, Murekezi sounded convinced by lawmakers’ arguments and claimed that the issue of retirement is complex and will be subject to debates.
“I am requesting that the issue be forwarded to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for further debate, but keep in mind that public servants constitute only 2 percent of the active population in Rwanda,” said Murekezi.