Old age pension as a social security initiative: the case of Botswana
Lucas, Polly M.
Rights holderUniversity of Botswana
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The status of the older population has been an on-going social policy concern in both developed and developing countries for several decades now. This is reflected in research, policies and legislative provisions for the older people in the countries such as the USA, Canada and others. In developing countries, this concern is a recent phenomenon. It is only in the last three decades that scholars and policy makers have begun to pay some attention to the plight and situation of older people in developing countries. This paper uses secondary data sources to appraise Botswana’s Old Age Pension Scheme. The scheme is non-contributory and covers all older persons aged 65 years and above. The paper acknowledges that the pension scheme has significantly contributed to the enhancement of the socio-economic profile of the older people in Botswana. It however, contends that the provisions o f the pension scheme do not adequately meet the financial requirements of the older people. This is exacerbated by the fact that some older persons support unemployed and dependent members of their families from the same pension money especially grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. The paper also reveals that the pension scheme is wrought with administrative and implementation bottlenecks. Among the major problems affecting the pension scheme for the elderly are, congestion at paying points; traveling of long distances to the paying points; delays in processing life declaration certificates; exposure to criminal activities; failure by paying officers to honor paying schedules and problems associated with computer systems failure. It is the contention of this paper that there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive policy for the protection and care of older people in Botswana. Such a policy should address the various needs of the older people and in particular set a clearer criterion for adequate financial provision for the older population.