Rwandan MPs push for lowering of retirement age to 55

Sunday March 18 2018

Rwandan MPs at a previous parliamentary

Rwandan MPs at a previous parliamentary session. A section of the legislators want the retirement age reduced to 55 from the current 65, terming the current settings “unfair to fresh graduates”. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NATION 

ROBERT MBARAGA
By ROBERT MBARAGA
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A section of Rwandan lawmakers has called on the government to lower the retirement age “to give a chance to unemployed Rwandan youth,” as the country plans to amend its labour law.

MPs want the retirement age reduced to 55 from the current 65, terming the current settings “unfair to fresh graduates”.

“Young people are graduating at 21 and their chances of securing jobs remain minimal,” said member of parliament Théobald Mporanyi.

According to the lawmakers, people with more than 30 years in employment should be retired. The Ministry of Labour termed the recommendation “good” but remained very cautious on making a commitment.

“It is not possible to make a decision on such a matter without the involvement of the Ministry of Finance and the pension fund,” said Fanfan Kayirangwa Rwanyindo, the Minister of Public Service and Labour.

'No effect'

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However, according to some analysts, the retirement age does not have the effect of creating employment for young people that some MPs attach to it.

“The labour market does not operate on a fixed basis. There are no defined number of jobs that would see the retirement of older employees resulting in the hiring of the exact number of young people,” said Bercar Nzabagerageza, an economic analyst.

He added that there should be flexibility in implementing the retirement age, to allow those who want to go for early retirement at 55 to do so, while maintaining the compulsory retirement age at 65.

The current retirement age in the country was increased to 65 from 55 in the 2009 labour law amendments, in a move that analysts said aimed at relieving the country’s pension scheme from a big number of beneficiaries and improving the fund’s long-term solvency.

Considering this experience, analysts say the request to lower the retirement age goes against economic theories, which suggest that lowering the retirement age is very risky for countries with increasing life expectancy — a category Rwanda falls under.

A 2017 Population Projections report by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda put the life expectancy at birth of Rwandans at 66.6 years.