Nigeria: 90% of Nigeria's 10 Million Elderly Persons Live Without Pension Support

16 August 2019

About 90 per cent of Nigerians aged 60 years and above live either with irregular pension or without pension support.

In Nigeria, all citizens over the age of 60 years are classified as elderly and due for retirement in both the public and private sectors with few exceptions.

The National Population Commission (NPC) estimated that in 2015, the estimated elderly population in Nigeria was 9,319,025 and in 2016 and 2017 it increased to 9,622,057 and 9,934,942 respectively.

The NPC revealed that the percentage of female elderly stood at 44.21 per cent for the years under review.

Going by the number of persons aged 60 years and above who receive pension benefits from both the private sector and the Federal Government, about 90 per cent of the elderly in Nigeria are either not receiving monthly pension or are on the pension payroll of state governments characterised with payment irregularity.

Data compiled from the National Pension Commission (PenCom) and the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) show that only 978,200 retirees from the private sector and the Federal Government receive monthly pension under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) or the Defined Benefits Scheme (DBS).

Data from PTAD show that as at March this year, there were 244,945 pensioners on the Federal Government's pension payroll under the DBS while data from PenCom show that as at March this year, there were 733,255 elderly persons with Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) under the CPS.

Daily Trust analysis shows that 471,498 elderly RSA holders were from the public sector while 261,757 were from the private sector.

It is unclear the number of elderly persons covered under the pension arrangements of subnational governments in Nigeria, but in many states pensions are meagre and payment irregular.

Apart from elderly persons covered by the pension arrangements of the private sector under the CPS and those covered by the Federal Government under the DBS and the CPS, about 9 million elderly persons are with irregular or no pension at all.

The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) revealed some time ago that only six of the 36 governors and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) do not owe pensioners.

However, even with the exclusion of retirees on the pension payroll of state governments, about 8 million elderly persons are outside the pension coverage in the country.

"Populations with high proportions of the elderly are usually vulnerable to economic challenges and face the heightened challenge of access to adequate health and social care," a recent report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated.

There are no retirement palliatives to cater for elderly persons under retirement coverage in Nigeria.

Retirees enjoy some retirement palliatives in addition to their retirement benefits in some countries in order to ensure their happiness, good health and longevity.

In Nigeria, such retirement palliatives do not exist and retirees are left to struggle and survive on their own.

Daily Trust analysis has shown that Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world to retire based on the NATIXIS Global Retirement Index.

This is indicative of the absence of social security for the elderly in the country despite its accommodation in the constitution.

"Security and welfare of the people" have been declared as the primary purpose of government in Chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

In line with this, it is important that governments at all levels figure out how to provide social security for millions of the elderly in the country who eke a living without pension.

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