A STUDY ON THE EFFECTS OF RETIREMENT ON THE SOCIO ECONOMIC LIFE OF RETIRED CIVIL SERVANTS IN NIGERIA. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
1.1 Background of the Study
The compulsory retirement age for civil servants in Nigeria is 60 years or 35 years of unbroken active service, whichever comes first. Judges of high courts and professors in tertiary institutions in the country are not exactly on the same policy. The retirement age for professors and judges is 70 years. Age is said to connote expertise and wealth of experience in these sectors, hence, the extended working years for these employees (Garba & Mamman, 2014). This is closely related to what is obtainable in some other African countries like Ghana, Botswana, and Cameroon (“A Brief History”, 2013). The compulsory retirement age in Ghana is 60 years with at least 15 years of service to be pensionable. However, people working under stringent conditions -like miners and steel employees, could retire at age 55 and still collect their full entitlements (IOPS Country Profile, 2011). The most recent Public Service Act in Botswana is that of 2008, which became fully operational on the 1st of May, 2010. It stipulates that the mandatory retirement age is 60 years while teachers are allowed to retire at age 65 (Directorate of Public Service Management, 2010). The retirement age in Cameroon is also 60 years (Shuh, 2016). When workers get tothis age, it is generally believed that productivity drops for all individuals (Fapohunda, 2013; Komolafe, 2005). Whichever form retirement takes within these nations’ statutory requirement, the retiree is entitled to benefits, such as gratuity and pension, as rewards for the years put into serving the nation and for the purpose of meeting their financial needs at old age (Garba & Mamman, 2014). Having served their nations for decades, the stage seems set for retirees to take the weight off their shoulders and relax for the remaining part of their lives. However, retirement is a phase of life that is characterised by several changes in age, health, strength, income, social status, living condition, and at times, living environment. These and other critical issues that need to be decided upon are of concern to people nearing old age in most parts of the world (Ali, 2014; Quadagno, 2005). This new phase, therefore, requires individual retirees to have sufficient sources of sustenance, since work that generates stable income has ended. Typically, this phase calls for adjustments that are crucial to living a happy and fulfilling post-retirement life on the part of the individual retiree. 2 However, unlike workers inwestern nationswho eagerly anticipate their retirement from paid employment, the average Nigerian civil servant looks forward to retirement with fear and a sense of uncertainty (Ali, 2014). While workers in western nations such as the United States have access to three sources of income after quitting active service (Moody & Sasser, 2012), retired civil servants in Nigeria have to struggle and suffer significantly before they could collect their meagre benefits. Corruption and the depth of embezzlement of pensioners’ gratuities and monthly pension benefits in the past three decades are outrageous. This corrupt practice is heightened by the improper management of pension funds by the Pension Boards, poor record keeping, lack of proper supervision of the pension managers, and the misappropriation of pension funds by successive governments (Fapohunda, 2013). As a consequence, most of the States in Nigeria find it difficult to pay the severance benefits to retired civil servants years after retirement. Pensions are not paid as and when due, at times for several months. The scenario leaves many retired civil servants in abject poverty, frustration, depression, and ill-health that sometimes lead to the death of some of these people as they await their entitlements (Olatunde & Onyinye, 2013).
Furthermore, several employers of labour in Nigeria are defaulting under the present contributory pension scheme, according to Popoola (2016). Many of them are found wanting in the remittance of both the 8% deductions from employees’ monthly salaries and their contribution of 10%as part of the new arrangement.