As the world celebrates 2016 International Day of Older Persons, the federal government has pledged to promote the economic situation for older persons through IT programme, among others .
Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja at the one-day project partnership meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Digital Bridge Institute, Abuja, and International Federation on Ageing, the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, said changing the employment policies in order to enable older workers stay longer in employment and making work/ working environment attractive helps in advancing elderly people’s economy.
However, quoting the International Labour Organisation, Ngige warned that the increasing proportion of the of the population aged 60 and above, poses a growing policy challenge in both developed and underdeveloped countries.
‘According to United Nations population data and a new ILO analysis, this rate of increase among other persons will accelerate over the next 50 years. This puts our future social security systems in the country under increasing strain from an ageing population\’
He said other ways of promoting the economic situation for older persons include developing the potential of information and communication technology (ICT), open up employment and training of older persons.’
According to Ngige, who was represented by the acting director, Social Security/Cooperative Department, Fedral Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mrs Dorcas Ajiboye, this is not just a duty of government but should be a collaborative effort from other stakeholders and the private sector, who are to work together in this journey.
He said that the advancement of older persons though posing a challenge, however, creates opportunities that can be explored as exposing such opportunities will bring social, economic and technological development triumph.
‘Human diversity increases with age, and the accumulation of life time experience enriches the different ways in which older people can negotiate with their identity.
‘A possible best way to longer life span is to continue working for as long as they can and keep themselves occupied after formal retirement.’
The Minister of Labour and Employment said the event, which was deliberately designed to chart a way forward in promoting elderly/senior veterans’ economy through improved productivity/employment intiatives, said his ministry was collaborating with the International Federation on Ageing in Nigeria (IFAN), to achieve one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
According to him, the collaboration aimed to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, productive employment and decent work for all.
Earlier in his remarks, the coordinator, IFAN, Mr Willie Nwobu, said the ICT Digital skill knowledge is now the game changer for the aged in what he described as the “old world meets the New World.”
He said the “must be marriage” between the federal Ministry of labour and Employment and Digital Bridge Institute must be done and consolidated immediately with International Federation on Ageing Nigeria (IFAN) as the moderator, facilitator and family guide including incorporating West African Monbat as the integrator to insure and help that no divorce and separation happens.
Also,the coordinator, Digital Bridge Institute, Dr Ike Adinde said there is so much the institute the institute can offer the elderly in ICT.
By Winifred Ogbebo, Abuja