State vice-president Saulos Chilima has said he will introduce a welfare benefit scheme or the state old-age pension scheme for all Malawians aged 65 years and above once he becomes the country’s president under the banner of United Transformation Movement (UTM).
Chilima made the pledge on Friday during his Imbizo-style whistle-stop meetings in Lilongwe that took him to Ngwangwa, Chidalanda, Kafutwe and Nambuma Trading Centers where he engaged with the public in chats and question time as he responded to people’s probing questions .
The UTM leader said many older people are living pathetic lives with costs of goods and other expenses are rocketing and promised that his administration will ensure they supplement their income with a government old age grant.
He said scheme would cater for every person regardless of whether they were employed or not but will be subjected to means testing as other eldery are cash rish to get benefits pay.
Chilima also disclosed that his administration witll increase retirement age from 60 to 65 years in order to ensure that people fully contribute to the country’s development.
“We need to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 years. We need to put everyone over 65 years of age on pension,” said Chilima.
The UTM leader said there’s already money for the initiatives“ within government” and he knew he would get it within the country.
Chilima said other countries such as Lesotho, Mexico, Botswana, South Africa are doing the old-age scheme, challenging “even if it was not being done in other countries we would still do it.”
Acooring to the Global Age Watch Index , which measures crucial aspects of well-being of the elderly, including income security, health status, capability and environment , Malawi is the worst place to grow old.
Among others, the Vice-President has already pledged to create one million jobs, abolish the quota system of selecting students into public universities, end presidential immunity from prosecution while in office, increase teachers’ salaries and make Parliament the appointing authority of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general and other important positions, in the first year if elected president in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.