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Bill To Increase Retirement Age For People With Disability Scales Second Reading

The Discrimination Against Persons with Disability Prohibition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 scaled second reading in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The Bill, sponsored by Hon Babajimi Benson, seeks to amend the Principal Act, the Prohibition Against Persons with Disability Act, 2018 which provides for measures to protect and ensure inclusion of PLWD in Nigeria.

Benson said the 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.

He said 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.

He said the second amendment seeks to ensure that the Chairman of the National Commission for Persons Living with Disability is someone also living with disability.

He however said the person must however possess the requisite qualifications for that position.

“Dear Colleagues, the rationale behind this amendment is to further ensure that persons living with disability are fairly treated to ensure equity and justice. 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.

“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 informal job settings with subminimum wages. However, the Principal Act provides for equal treatment for PLWD.

“While this is a commendable effort by the Nigerian government, PLWD 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,” he said.

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