The concern over pensions comes following an FNC debate on the issue where members said some people were struggling on current payments

ABU DHABI // Retirees have spoken about how tough life is on their current pensions.

They say the payments are not enough for their needs because of the rising cost of living.

“It is not enough. My family needs more. I don’t have another source of income. I take care of five people, including myself,” said Mohammed Al Shehhi, 63, whose pension is Dh11,400 a month.

“The prices of everything have increased – I need to buy things for the house and get groceries and other daily necessities,” he said.

Mr Al Shehhi, who worked in the local post office in Khor Fakkan, Fujairah, for 25 years, said he was “let go” in 2000 and was not “promised anything from anyone”.

The call comes as FNC members have been raising the issue of pensions in the council.

Sultan Al Dhaheri (Abu Dhabi) says increases are necessary and he has received many complaints about the issue. “The pensions are not enough. Everyone has expenses and those who receive Dh10,000 are not like those who receive Dh20,000. We have received many complaints from pensioners, especially those in the police and military,” said Mr Al Dhaheri.

“Many of the pensioners worked in the federal Government and they deserve a raise. The pensioners have served the country and the Government and the current employees are now working on jobs that the pensioners have helped to build years ago,” he said.

He suggested that the Government look into an increase or provide certain privileges, such as discounts in supermarkets.

“Go to a supermarket – you will see how expensive it gets. The employees in the supermarket don’t know who is receiving a low pension. There should be privileges. At least providing discounts for pensioners in supermarkets will make their lives easier,” he said.

Z A, 55, who worked as a policewoman for 15 years and retired in 2001, said the amount she receives was not enough.

Instead of spending the pension just on “herself after years of working”, she has to pay for her children’s necessities. “It doesn’t cover my daily expenses – children’s necessities, car expenses, travel tickets for my children who study abroad. Everything is more expensive now. An increase will allow for less personal sacrifices that need to be made in order to fulfil my children’s needs,” she said.

Two of Z A’s children are continuing their education abroad and much of her pension – Dh13,400 – is spent on their travel expenses, she said. “The air ticket is enough to wipe that amount,” she said.

Mohammed Al Mehairi, who retired in 2006 from one of the capital’s ministries, shares similar concerns. “In 2000, the amount would have been enough. But now, what used to cost Dh100 is Dh200. After 2010, prices of everything increased – rapidly and greatly,” said Mr Al Mehairi, who receives Dh24,000 a month.

“I have investments in real estate and without them, my family and I will starve,” he said.

The last increase in pension payments was made in 2008 and the Abu Dhabi Pension Fund said on Thursday it did not know of any plans for a rise. The retirement age in Abu Dhabi is 60 for men and 55 for women. The minimum requirement to qualify for a pension is ten years of service, once the retirement age is reached.

However, public and private-sector employees receive 80 per cent of their pensionable salary after 25 years of service – even if they have not reached this age limit.

A retiree’s pension is lifelong, and is given to the beneficiary after death, but this is subject to certain regulations.

Published: May 10, 2014 04:00 AM


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