MPs encourage saving for retirement

09 Mar 2016 15:30pm
WALVIS BAY, 09 MAR (NAMPA) - Namibians are encouraged to save money wisely and ensure that when they retire, they have enough money to take care of themselves or pay for caretakers.
The message from Member of Parliament (MP) Agnes Limbo is intended for young and employed Namibians, as such preparative measures will make their lives easier when they become senior citizens and may not be able to work for money.
“Black people are the most affected because they find it difficult to save and prepare for retirement,” said Limbo during a meeting with the management of Palm House old age home in Walvis Bay on Wednesday.
Limbo is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social
Development and Family Affairs currently in the Erongo Region to assess the conditions of elderly people in old age homes.
Limbo said young people should stop buying expensive cars instead of houses and invest in pension funds.
She said pension funds are not supposed to be used when a person is young and employed, but should be allowed to grow to be used during retirement; a kind of thinking that requires some awareness in Namibia.
“We need to start an awareness campaign to tell our youth and mature employed people to start preparing for retirement while it is early,” said another MP, Petrina Haingura.
Haingura also used the opportunity to advise young people to take care of parents who are not able to take care of themselves and have no money.
“Your parents took care of you when you were young. If you do not take care of them now when they need you, God will punish you,” said Andrea Wismiwski, a nurse at Palm House.
The nurse also recommended that elders stay at home with their families to be taken care of there, instead of being “dumped” at retirement homes.
Adding more advice, the chairperson of Palm House Danie Greeff said: “Remember your pension will never be as big as your salary, so prepare now. Government is not responsible for your life, you are”.
Another old age home official, Esme Scholtz said the N.dollars 1 000 pension grant currently received by pensioners is not enough to cover the costs of retirement homes.
This includes food, medicine, laundry, cleaners and physical care.
She therefore suggested Government subsidise old age homes to make things easier for those receiving just the welfare grant.
Palm House is a privately owned home, surviving from donors, fund raising and the N.dollars 6 000 or 7 000 monthly contribution from the members.
“Without the help of our children, we cannot afford to stay in old age homes. A lot of black pensioners apply here but when they see the amount they must contribute, they just give up,” Scholtz said.
There are 39 pensioners and 34 employees at Palm House.
Haingura, who is leading the delegation of nine female MPs, said Government sent them to assess the situation for submission to the National Assembly (NA) to see if changes could be made to help elderly people live better.
Changes could be subsidising old age homes, or building more homes with free services, but this depends on a Cabinet decision after seeing the recommendations.
After visiting retirement homes in Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay, the team will proceed to Okahandja on Thursday before visiting the //Kharas and Hardap regions next week.