This week, the Government of Tanzania announced the results of a major study that finds that a universal non-contributory pension is affordable and can be implemented in Tanzania.
A pension is possible and affordable
The report, Achieving income security in old age for all Tanzanians, was launched yesterday. Silvia Stefanoni, HelpAge Director of Programmes, attended the launch. She said:
"In 2009 the Ministry of Finance asked HelpAge to explore the feasibility of a national social pension to address widespread poverty in Tanzania. We took up the invitation in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour because of the enormous gap in pension coverage (94%).
"The study involved consultations with more than 50 government, public and private institutions. Older people were also consulted and their contributions enriched the findings. The Minister of Finance today emphasised the great need for a universal pension and called on the support of international donors."
Unprecedented poverty reduction on the horizon
The findings of the study show that, not only would a national social pension reduce the poverty of older people by 60%, but it would reduce poverty throughout Tanzania by 12%.
A modest transfer of around US$11 per month to all Tanzanians over 60 would make more progress in reducing poverty - when looking at ‘same day' impact - than has been achieved by all pro-poor policies in the country over the last 8 years.
"This report clearly shows that a universal pension is affordable," said Ms Stefanoni. "The cost of a pension at this level could be less than 1% the national economy (GDP)."
Eric Kimani, Chairperson of the HelpAge International Board was also at the launch. He said:
"The Government of Tanzania has taken major steps towards realising a different reality for Tanzanians in old age. This report marks the next stage in achieving a universal pension and is a milestone for older people in Tanzania."