Malawi has 1 million old people, only 5% are on pension: Why not universal pension for them? 

Our attention, today, as Nyasa Times has been drawn to the continued suffering of elderly people in the country.

Reports indicate that most of our senior citizens, especially in rural areas, are living in abject and absolute poverty.

They sleep in shacks that leaks, often on empty stomach while covering their hard, cracked and dirty bodies in rags.

To survive, most of them turn to begging and, of course, complete reliance on handouts from strangers.

Their painful situation is exacerbated by the fact that existing traditional systems of care and support for the elderly in Malawi are increasingly breaking down.

They are on their own, rejected, abandoned, accused of witchcraft—and if they are not killed, they die like stray dogs, wrapped in mats and buried in unmarked graves.

Is this the kind of treatment we should continue to accord our senior citizens? As Nyasa Times, we are saying NO.

President Lazarus Chakwera won on a ticket of ensuring that we create a Malawian that benefits all, ‘Malawi wokomera tonse’.  We are certain that even the elderly are part of this Malawi. However, the situation on the ground is troubling for our elderly.

That is why, as Nyasa Times, we propose the urgent need for Chakwera government to implement a universal pension scheme for all elderly people in Malawi.

A universal pension is just an example of social protection schemes aimed at protecting the most vulnerable in our society.

In Malawi, the very of the poorest have been beneficiaries of social protection schemes such as social cash transfers and Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP).

However, such schemes are generic, as such, little trickles to the elderly. In fact a 2016 government study showed that three-quarters of the elderly do not benefit from these schemes.

That is why a special scheme, entirely targeting the elderly is a matter of urgency if, as a nation, we care to protect our senior citizen.

You see, there are only about 1 million old people in Malawi. However, only 5 percent are on pension and studies show that they live a better life.

To mean, if government can implement a universal, non-contributory pension scheme, the lives of our senior citizens will begin to take a better shape.

The good thing is that government has already done studies on this and the conclusion has been that social pensions represent an important component of an institutional foundation for old-age social protection. Tonse government just needs to take it up from there and implement.

There is a good reason not just for the elderly but for the entire society as regards to why we should have a universal pension scheme for the elderly.

A universal pension would also create multipliers within the households and the wider community. There is empirical evidence of how pensions can reduce child poverty and rates of child labour, and boost school enrollment.

The extra cash being pumped into rural communities would also catalyse efforts towards agricultural development.

Further, a scheme of this nature would provide a long-term tool to systematically share the proceeds of growth amongst society as a whole, and thus contain levels of inequality.

This is why, as Nyasa Times, we feel time has come to Chakwera government to live to the ideal of an inclusive government, one that takes care of all—including to elderly.

Malawi needs a universal pension scheme for our senior citizens.

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National CEO
National CEO
1 year ago

We Malawians have a culture of not planing for tomorrow. We give a burden to children to take care of us when we grow old. You find a person retiring from work but has no house, and he want his childern to build a house for him, if the parent failed to build a house, how will the children manage since the parents have demonstrated that it is impossible to build a house? Let’s learn to be exemplary and leave wealth not poverty for our children.

Concerned citizen
Concerned citizen
1 year ago

But then again, of the 5% how many get enough to survive on? There has to be a regulated minimum return that can accrue to the pentioner.

UDF and DPP Allliance

Malawi has to change its direction by first improving education. Education should be made compulsory and make sure that the village leaders and Traditional Authorities are held accountable for their subjects. They should not be paid for just pleasing the political leaders just like Paramount idiot Lundu, idiot Lukwa, idiot Kaomba, idioti Kyungu etc did. We are still having too many girls dropping out of school. There is no girl empowerment. Most of our girls think that they can make money through prostitution. This must stop and Patricia Kaliati must work tirelessly to save girls and boys. There should be… Read more »

Justice for all
Justice for all
1 year ago

Wel observed article

Mdala
Mdala
1 year ago

Yes, government you have to help our old mothers and fathers ! But don’t forget there are 9 million young people under the age of 18 years! They alles need education and jobs! Yes, investment in the future is key! Please government, get your priorities right.

Yesaya kaguta M7
Yesaya kaguta M7
1 year ago

You guys want to bankrupt the government. Its better to encourage savings culture among Malawians so that even if one is self employed they should plan for old age.

Jesta
Jesta
1 year ago

I thought during the campaign they said they would allocate 15,000 to the old people

Malidadi
Malidadi
1 year ago
Reply to  Jesta

Amakamba zosatheka awa

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