Dar es Salaam. Tanzanians expect to live longer from their birth days as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) projects that life expectancy will increase from 62 years in 2013 to 74 years in 2035.
Economists say the country should get prepared for increased budget and possibly consider raising the retirement age.
“Life expectancy at birth for Tanzania is expected to increase from 62 years in 2013 to 74 years in 2035 for both sexes which is the same for Tanzania Mainland,” reads part of the NBS report released recently.
The report, which was released at the end of last month has also projected to strike a gender balance as both male and female Tanzanians are expected to attain the same level of life expectancy for the next 17 years.
Commenting on such report, economists have raised alarm over the increasing demand for high quality of social services with growing budgetary allocations amidst the headache for limited funds.
Prof Delphin Rwegasira of the Economics Department at the University of Dar es Salaam, said that the report implies that with increasing life expectancy the country has a mounting task of meeting new demands arising from the aging population amidst increasing needs of the youth and the dependents or children and the elderly.
“With increasing rate of life expectancy in the communities the country must be well prepared to cope with new needs from new population. The new needs from the health and education sector will crop from old age diseases and the demand for more skilled labour will arise,” said Prof Rwegasira.
He also said that another implication is that the government should prepare new policy for raising retirement age to cope with rising life expectancy.
“The new population needs and increasing life expectancy will arise from industrialization. People should take in mind that at independence in 1961 life expectancy was 45 years but now it is growing at higher pace,” said Prof Rwegasira.
According to him, such trend in the population growth for Tanzania and other African countries was already projected by the World Bank and the UN.
Prof Honest Ngowi of economics based at Mzumbe University raised similar views, insisting that the country should get prepared for increasing budget for the elderly and dependents in general for the next decade.
Prof Ngowi also said the budgetary needs for pensioners are going to increase due to increasing number of retirees, who will force pension funds to meet increasing demands for pension benefits.
“The country must be well prepared to cope with increasing budgets for the elderly and other dependents. Pension Funds should be restructured and increase productivity for meeting news needs,” he said.