Old Age:: Any Comprehensive National Policy On Social Welfare Programmes?

The goal of halving poverty and hunger in Nigeria by Year 2025 may not be adequately achieved without due consideration to the aged category of the population..
It is sad to note that the informal social security system based on extended family setting has largely broken down in the country, adding that this concept continues to break down due to factors like the dwindling economic fortunes of most of the working members of the family, eroding impact of inflation, increasing work redundancy, high youth unemployment rate.
Coincidentally, the public pension schemes as a major component of social welfare programme did not fare better in lifting the old age from the shackles of poverty, hunger and deprivation.  

The scheme that could have played a significant role in ensuring that other people have sufficient income to enjoy a sufficient standard of living in retirement was marred by large inconsistencies like soaring gap between pension obligations and revenues.  

This often resulted into payment procedure that was very tedious, cumbersome as well as weak governance practices and overall delay or lack of payment of benefits.  The private sector did not do better under the old scheme as the number of pension schemes was as many as there were private sector organizations. 

Even the new Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) which was strategically designed to avert old age crisis of poverty and other forms of insecurity is marred with large scale corruption as being witnessed in the on-going probe of the pension scheme.''

Chapter 2, Section 16 (2) (d) of the 1999 Constitution clearly stated that “The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that suitable and adequate shelter, suitable and adequate food, reasonable national minimum wage, old age care and pension, and unemployment, sick benefits and welfare of the disabled are provided for all citizens.
Nigeria is currently the most populous country in Africa and the ninth in the world with a total population of 144.7 million people by the 2006 population census carried out by the National Population Commission.  

This population is estimated to grow at the rate of 3.2 percent per annum.

  Nigeria is also estimated to have the highest number of dependent population in Africa which consists of age categories 0-14 and 65 and above. 

 While the age category 0-14 represents 44.1 percent (63, 812, 700) of total population, the 65 and above age category represents 2.9 percent (4, 196, 300) of total population.  

This further shows that the issue of ageing is a further concern to Nigeria, as it has a large retinue of active age population which accounted for 53 percent (76, 691, 000) of total population by the 2006 census.

Investigation into age projections in Nigeria shows that by the year 2025, the population with age 60 and above will constitute 6 percent of the total population, adding that the United Nations Population Division further argued that Nigeria has the potentials for a rapid growth rate of the older population as this was projected to increase to 9.9 percent by year 2050.
Onevtherefore suggests that sustainable social welfare system is one that is financially sound to guarantee the core principles underlying social welfare, which can be maintained over a foreseeable horizon. 
IIt should provide on sustainable basis such income replacement that would close any emerging income gap and/or to guarantee access to goods and service necessary to meet those unexpected needs.u
By Bode Durojaye

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