Pensioners demand review of payment

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February 25, 2019

By Ibrahim Tarawallie 

pensioner

Pensioners have called on government to conduct a thorough review of the current pension payment so as to ensure that those retired senior civil servants that are within the Le250, 000 pension margin receive higher pension based on positions held during active service.

During the reading of the 2019 budget to parliament in November of 2018, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa, announced that government will increase the minimum pension wage of retirees from Le20, 000 per month to Le250, 000 ,effective January, 2019.

In a meeting with the finance minister on Thursday, February 21, 2019, a cross section of pensioners commended the government for the bold step taken to increase their pensions.

They stated that over a considerable period of time, no steps were taken by successive governments to improve/increase pensions paid to retirees in line with cost of living.

Reading out a position paper on behalf of the pensioners union, Issa Kolleh Dumbuya- a retired soldier said: “We the pensioners applaud and remain grateful to government for making strides in increasing pensions, which was ignored for over fifteen years.”

He, however, stated that the increase  did not take into cognizance positions/designations held by senior civil servants, who receive less than Le251,000 as pension.

He added that the current pension increase was not equitably extended to pensioners receiving above Le250, 000, as agreed by the government on the scale of increases for pensioners.

“Efforts should be made by government to always make budgetary allocations for the increase of pensions yearly. Mechanisms should also be put in place to  remove pensioners from the payroll upon death by linking the Birth and Death Department to pension administration and review the death certificate,” he urged.

Acting Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress, Max Conteh said: “The increment is a step in the right direction. Such increase means a lot to retirees as it has brought happiness to their various homes. The previous pension paid to government retirees was nothing to write home about.”

Responding, Finance Minister, Jacob Jusu Saffa, thanked the pensioners for recognising the effort made by government to increase their pensions.

While assuring that concerns raised by the pensioners will be looked into by his ministry and actions taken where necessary, the minister noted that what they did at this initial stage was to ensure that those that served in government received something good for their service.

“We have nowhere to start and the Le250, 000 we are now paying as pension is the minimum level, which is 50% of the minimum wage. I think your concern for us to consider positions/designations held by senior civil servants receiving less than Le251, 000 is a valid point. Please just patient a little with us to look back at the figures,”