Pleasant Presidential Surprise

Information that has over the years kept many wondering if such a situation could ever come to past was finally made official yesterday 30 December, 2020. Presidential Decree N0. 2020/802 of 30 December, 2020 harmonising retirement age for civil servants to 60 years has come as a welcome relief nationwide. For so long, the issue has been a bone of contention with several civil servants having to seek work extension once they approached the age of 55; seen as the time when they were most productive. 
The situation was further compounded by the existence of differences in the retirement age depending on the corps concerned. Some already went at 60 while others had to leave at 55 thereby creating room for such persons to look for reasons to further stay. Faced therefore with multiple demands for the extension of retirement periods for individuals and the rate of productivity recorded by most workers when they get to the ripe age of 50 and above, President Paul Biya had to take a decision. 
Those who had speculated over the years about the possibility of such a decision being effective might have wondered when and how it would happen. There are cases of couples that feared the hurdles of separation with the husband going on retirement at 55 years and being obliged to travel to the village while leaving the wife in town for service purposes or facing the challenge of staying idle in town for family reasons with its attendant consequences of economic hardship.
The need to ensure that certain categories of workers stayed longer in office after the 55-year retirement age equally created room for undue favouritism with certain heads of government services sending away hardworking staff on fallacious purpose. This often led to undue social tension both in homes and in the public administration where workers are expected to deliver for the wellbeing of the State. Over the years, solutions to the problem of civil servants either leaving or prolonging their services to the nation have been tackled on a case-by-case basis and that has often been an issue to those who felt cheated by being left to go when they thought they still had much to offer. 
Even besides the service imperatives, the economic and social context within the last two decades has been such that many civil servants attain the retirement age without being fully prepared for the future. Drawing up personal plans for survival after work has not been an easy task for many. Some have spent most of their professional life as bread-winners in their families without being able to reserve anything substantial for rainy days. While the current Presidential decree will be salutary to such persons,...



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