Pre April 1990 pensioners
It was heartening to read in the newspapers that the government is considering a salary increase for government employees, and I trust an appropriate increase will also be granted to the pensioners.
In this connection, may I be permitted to draw the attention of the Minister of Finance and of the Treasury officials regarding the case of pre-April 1990 pensioners. In April 1990, the government completely revised the long-standing pension regulations, granting up to 90 percent of the salary in addition to the payment of the commuted pension as a grant. The pensions of the government employees who retired prior to this date were computed on the basis of a maximum pension of 70 percent of the salary for 35 years of service and the commuted pension was to be recovered over 10 years from the monthly pension payment. This created a very sharp disparity in benefits received by those who retired before and after April 1990, for the same period of service. The subsequent increases granted to pensioners have been the same for both categories and no effort has been made to compensate those who retired prior to April 1990.
As most government employees retire at the age of 60, the surviving pre-April pensioners are mostly over 72 years of age and their numbers naturally decline rapidly. I wish to appeal to the Minister and the Treasury officials to give consideration to this matter in the next round of salary and pension increases due mid year.
In fairness to everyone concerned, the government should accept the principle of equal pension for equal service. For example, an officer who served the government for 25 years and retired on the maximum of SLAS Class I should receive the same pension irrespective of the date of retirement. Since the number of pre-April 1990 pensioners is quite small (and fast diminishing too), working out the modified pensions will be no great task. I am sure pensioners will even willingly pay the cost of working out the new payments, if entrusted to a private accounting firm or overtime payments for Pensions Department staff.
The older pensioners whom I refer to are in most cases confined to their homes and have truly retired from active life due to age and often in deteriorating health, deserve great consideration, as they have no bargaining power at all.
We are of course aware that the governments financial resources are always limited, but not so limited as not to implement this principle. However even a small change in pension benefits based on the above principle will be greatly appreciated. Even small mercies count a lot for old people! We have but a short time left before we make our final exit and please give us the satisfaction that the government has treated us fairly during the last stages of our lives.
A hopeful pensioner
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