‘No plan to help to help retirees as yet’

Fiji First Party General Secretary Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum with supporters during the party’s Campaign in Tuvu Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

THERE are no current plans to assist retirees aged between 55 and 65 years.

This was clarified by FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during a party rally in Tuvu, Lautoka yesterday after a concern was raised.

“What are your plans for people aged 55 to 65, those who have retired,” was the question asked by Teidamu resident Manjula Devi Kumar.

“Do you have any plans for them? Most of them retired suddenly and others did not plan for what was coming.”

She said most of a retiree’s savings went towards bills such as mortgages.

“It’s also very hard to get a job and if you’re a civil servant, it becomes harder so; what are your plans because people will be getting pensions after 65 but people falling in this 10-year category are often a forgotten group.”

Ms Kumar also asked if financial assistance could be provided to those in this group to pay off city or town rates, or make land payments. In response, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the retirement age of 55 was for civil servants only, not private sector workers.

“If you’re not working as a civil servant, your retirement age can be whatever retirement age your company or business has,” he said, adding this had come into effect from 2008.

“You can’t say it was all of a sudden for them, but not all of a sudden for people who knew it was going to come.” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said some people did make arrangements.

“At this point in time, there is no specific allocation for that but please don’t make it sound as if there’s a whole bunch of people who did not know.

“I don’t think it is correct to say you did not know you weren’t retiring, you knew from 2008 so your planning was there.

“In respect of whether we provide assistance to people to pay their municipal council rates and land leases rate, if you say that anybody who retires, we should pay even if it is as a subsidy, we can’t just do that for civil servants. What about the people in the private sector?

“So you have to look at the costs. If you start a policy, you have to make sure you don’t just do it for one or two years. So we have certain things we have planned which I cannot reveal now, but I’m not going to give you a half-baked answer. Once we’ve done the figures, we’ll then put that out.”

Meanwhile, the 2018 General Election will take place on November 14.

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