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National Assembly Approves Bill Extending Retirement Age For Persons With Disability

The House of Representatives has approved an increase in the retirement age and term of service from 65 to 70 years or 40 years of service for persons living with disability in Nigeria.

This followed the passage of a bill for an act to amend the Prohibition Against Persons with Disability Act in 2018.

The second amendment provides that the chairman of the National Commission for Persons with Disability is someone also living with disability.

The amendment clarified that “the person must however possess the requisite qualifications for that position.”

While presenting the bill at Thursday’s plenary, the sponsor, Hon. Babajimi Benson,a member of the All Progressives Congress,Lagos State, said “Its pleasing to present the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability Prohibition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for second reading on the floor of this honourable House.”

According to him, “the bill seeks to amend the principal act, the Prohibition Against Persons with Disability Act, 2018 which provides for measures to protect and ensure inclusion of PWDs in Nigeria.

“This amendment seeks to address some salient defects noticed in the principal act by amending sections 30 and 32 of the principal act and rearranging sections 30-58 as sections 30-59.

“The amendment will include an insertion of a subsection 30 (1), which provides for an increase in the retirement age and term of service from 65 to 70 years or 40 years of service, whichever comes first.”

“It is also to give them the opportunity to fully participate in the decision-making process of the Commission that oversees their affairs.

“This is a standard procedure in most developed and developing countries and Nigeria should not be left out,” he submitted.

According to him, “originally, employment rates of persons with disabilities are substantially lower than the rates for persons without disabilities in Nigeria.

“Persons with disabilities have lower earnings, and are sometimes low-skilled, part-time, and in informal job settings with sub-minimum wages. However, the principal act provides for equal treatment for PWD.

“While this is a commendable effort by the Nigerian government, PWDs still face challenges in their access to finance, markets, and networks because of barriers that arise out of non-inclusive legal frameworks and government policies.

“They also face social stigma and prejudice and obstacles to moving around their own communities and city spaces. This leads to poverty and dejection especially when they retire early.

“This amendment will give them more opportunities, not only to fully give their services to the country, but to also benefit more from the government and live a reasonable life after retirement.

“As a peoples’ parliament, the passage of this bill will further demonstrate our commitment to equity and fairness for all Nigerians. I, therefore, urge you all to kindly support this bill and ensure its passage”

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