Wednesday, 1 May 2013

(56): Re: Retired, un-tired, expired

Last week’s article on the above subject attracted a lot of reaction, and I truly appreciate the diversity of opinions expressed by the readers of this column. Below is a selection from the comments I received-Jameel
Retirement of public or private sector workers at a certain age or after serving for a specified period of time, normally determined by the government, is a fact of life. Retirement age differs from country to country while it is 60 years in Nigeria, in many countries it is much lower e. g. it is 55 years in Malaysia. That is why most of the taxi drivers I met in Kuala Lumpur are retired men.
You are absolutely correct that we can benefit a lot from the experience of retirees but we have to keep in mind some economic advantages of renewing our labor force. First, although some individuals remain active and healthy at their retirement age, however, many become very tired and less productive because of deteriorating health condition etc. Secondly, there is the case of many younger officers who have acquired experiences on the jobs from the older workers and are waiting for promotion to higher positions. Unless these older guys move, they would remain for years without promotion and that may affect their productivity. Moreover, there is the case of the teaming youth that graduate from our educational institutions looking for employment.

Note that the number of years you put in service determines your retirement benefits, thus any delays in employment after graduation is detrimental to the affected person. We must also note that government or even private organizations do not simply create jobs, all vacancies might be filled up in ministries or companies unless some people retire or the government or company decides to expand. These are just few reasons why retirement is necessary. The irony is that while workers in advanced countries are fighting for less retirement age, Nigerian workers are struggling for its increase.
You also mentioned the excellent example of how the government reengaged retired headmasters in Kano state. I think there are many ways that retirees can make themselves useful after retirement otherwise they can lean on their pensions (note, unemployed youth have no social security in Nigeria). For instance, for the high level cadre they can establish consultancy firms where their experiences can be fully utilized. Intermediate and lower level retirees can engage in many productive private activities. In universities, most experienced and active retired professors, for example, are retained through a contract employment which I believe is the case in other government and private institutions. Note that only 3.1% of the Nigerian populations are 65+.  Dr Ismail Na’iya, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

This is a good piece. Unfortunately Kano State government has recently adopted FG's policy of tenure ship for directors and permanent secretaries 'to pave way for young ones'. On using retirees to hold public office, I've this to share with you: Air Chief Marshall Roderick Maxwell Hill after the War was Air Member for Training and then Air Member for Technical Services before retiring in 1948. In retirement he became Rector of Imperial College, London. In 1953 he was nominated Vice-Chancellor of London University, before ill-health forced him to resign in the following year before completing his term of office. My supervisor is over 80years (PhD 1957) and still actively involved in teaching and research. There are other Professors of his age and even those older than him in the department. Dr Kabir Abdullahi, Imperial College, London.
The society has limited positions in civil service, hence retirement is the only means by which the more vigorous and updated professionals may be employed. Sir, this article is biased towards retirees and neglected the chance of introducing younger professionals towards emulating and inheriting trend of professionals after one retired and his subordinate carry over, taking it down to the bottom where a vacancy may arise. Dr Ahmad Abubakar,
Nice article, it really touches on what is really happening. It’s because of the society that relegates them to the background.  The religious ones among them return to the Mosque and dedicate themselves to God, and the rest spend their time reading newspapers and playing cards. Hope there is continuation. Mujahid Y Yusuf
Beautiful idea. But what do you do with politics and its unresisting allure? It is now the vogue to retire into politics where the returns are much higher if you have means. Who is talking about service here?  Jonathan Ishaku

18th Jumada Thani, 1434
29th April 2013

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