Sri Lankans living longer than other S. Asians, retiring prematurely
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has a compelling case for raising its retirement age as they are living longer and retiring earlier than in other South Asian countries, population experts say.
The island’s relatively good healthcare and education services has led to longer life expectancies, they say.
“In Sri Lanka, people are retiring prematurely,” says Indralal de Silva, a professor and dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo.
After retiring a significant number tend to work in the private sector, de Silva, one of the country’s top demographers, noted.
“In all South Asian countries except Sri Lanka, the retirement age is higher than their healthy life expectancy,” he said.
“In Sri Lanka it’s the other way around. Our healthy life expectancy is 72 years while the mandatory retirement age is 60 years. At that age most Sri Lankan are still healthy enough to work,” de Silva added.
“Therefore, increasing the mandatory retirement age seems to be long overdue.”
Sri Lanka’s private sector retirement age is 55 and state sector 60 years.
“Ninety-nine percent of the workforce must retire at 60 or even before. So they are retiring prematurely,” de Silva said.
In the Maldives life expectancy is the same as Sri Lanka’s but retirement age is 70 years.
By comparison Singapore has a life expectancy of over 80 years and is planning to raise retirement age to 67 years from 62 now. (Colombo/October 18 2015)