Rwanda’s pensioners in desperate state

A research conducted by the Syndicate of the Workers Trade Union of Rwanda and the union of pensioners has indicated that 95 percent of the senior citizens on pension don’t access life necessities.

The research findings, released this August 2015 indicate most of them lack enough food, access to health care and live in poor housing conditions.

For example, 22 percent of the pensioners receive not more than Rwf10.000 per month and some even receive below Rwf 5,200 a month from their pension benefits.

Modeste Munyuzangabo, the chairman of Rwanda Pensioners Association says that this issue was raised and discussed in detail during the national dialogue in 2013, but nothing has been done so far.

“Most of the senior citizens are living in poor conditions, and we are demanding that this issue be addressed. We want the benefits to be increased to at least Rfw 25,000 in order for our members to feel value for the contribution to the country” Munyuzangabo said.

Earlier this year, Rwanda’s Senate passed a new Pension Law, to give managers of pension schemes the powers to increase both contributions to the schemes and pension benefits.

Pensioners have for long complained about what they call peanut benefits but the new law provides that the public entity in charge of pension schemes shall conduct an Actuarial study at least every five years to assess the impact on the economy and the need to increase the amount of contributions.

However, Munyuzangabo says that this process is long and unnecessary in regards to solving the issue of increasing benefits for pensioners.

Senator Thérèse Kagoyire Bishagara, the head of the senatorial Standing Committee on Social Affairs, said earlier on hat the law will have to be driven by the needs of the people and respond to some of the concerns.

Froduald Munyakayanza, a pensioner says that even with the little government benefits, currently it is not easy to access it as people spend a lot of time in bank queues and sometimes multiple days waiting to receive their benefits.