Bukoba — LACK of a political will has negatively affected enforcement of the National Policy on Ageing of 2003, the Secretary General of Tanzania National Social Protection Network (TNSPN), Mr Livingstone Byekwaso, has said.
He noted that many decisions regarding elderly people were not implemented due to lack of representation at various high level organs. Mr Byekwaso revealed this during a one-day sensitisation workshop attended by more than 20 journalists from various media outlets held in Bukoba Municipality on Wednesday. "The National Policy on Ageing of 2003 states clearly the issues of free health care to all older people.
"The Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda directed district hospitals to provide free health care to all older people; to set special waiting areas in hospitals; appoint specialised doctors and avail drugs for age related diseases during the celebrations of the International Day of Older People held in Morogoro in 2010," he said.
He noted that almost 5.1 per cent of Tanzania's 40 million people, about 2.3 million were elderly citizens. However, only four per cent get monthly pension, because most of them are retired employees while the remaining 96 per cent do not have any pension.
"Regular income in old age is an essential component of the rights to social security and an adequate standard of living, recognised in the International Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covention on Economic and Social Rights (1966)," he said.
He lamented that the Minister for Labour, Mrs Gaudencia Kabaka, had promised in Parliament that the government would start paying a monthly pension to elderly citizens during 2012/13 financial year, but to-date the pledge has not been honoured.