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  #191  
Old 05-18-2017, 11:09 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
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BRAZIL

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-br...-idUSKCN18B2ER

Quote:
Brazil's Temer acknowledges pension reform still short on votes


Brazilian President Michel Temer acknowledged on Monday that he may not have the votes at present to pass his pension reform bill in the lower house of Congress, and the key measure for fiscal savings might not face a floor vote until late May.

Temer said in a interview with radio stations that his coalition government will only put the pension reform to the vote when it has guaranteed the support of between 320 and 330 lawmakers to clear the 308 votes needed for approval.

"It is possible that will happen in the last week of May," Temer said.

The measure aimed at curbing social security benefits, the main cause of Brazil's gaping budget deficit, needs to be approved twice by two-thirds of the lawmakers in both chambers of Congress.

Investors are watching the fate of the pension reform closely because it will be a gauge of Brazil's commitment to fiscal discipline. That will be instrument to restoring confidence and investment and pulling the country from a two-year recession.

Temer had hoped to have pension reform enacted by mid-year, but it is now clear that it will not advance in the Senate until the second half of the year and July at the earliest.

To convince lawmakers worried that the unpopular measure will hurt them at the polling booth next year, Temer will have to make new concessions.

Government officials say the bill has already been diluted and lost 25 percent of the planned fiscal savings, which have dropped to around 600 billion reais ($194 billion).

The bill faces widespread resistance from Brazilians who would be forced to work more years to retire with full benefits. In the costly current social security system, they retire on average at age 54.
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  #192  
Old 05-20-2017, 06:48 PM
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TAIWAN

http://www.economist.com/news/asia/2...nd?frsc=dg%7Ca

Quote:
Superannuated
Taking on Taiwan’s ruinous and partisan pension system

Pensioners hate the cuts; young people don’t think they go far enough


Print edition | Asia
May 18th 2017 | TAIPEI
THE protests outside parliament got so ferocious that the 2,000 policemen defending the building barricaded it with barbed wire. That was soon festooned with angry placards. Inside, opposition politicians sought to disrupt parliamentary business: they seized the podium, and brawls broke out. In Taiwan, as everywhere else, reining in expensive pensions is not easy. But Tsai Ing-wen, the president, seems determined to press on. The current system, she said last month, is on “the brink of bankruptcy”.

The government’s liabilities have swelled to almost NT$18trn ($597bn), nine times its total annual expenditures. That is divided among funds for different professions, in which contributions from current workers help to finance payments to pensioners. The fund for civil servants is projected to go bust by 2031; the one for teachers by 2030; the one for private-sector workers in 2027; and the one for the armed forces in 2020.

The root of the crisis lies in Taiwan’s rapidly declining birth rate and growing longevity, which means that there are fewer workers to support the swelling ranks of the old. In 2015 Taiwanese women were projected to have just 1.2 children on average over the course of their lives, even as life expectancy passed 80 for the first time. A government study found that in 1996 there were nine working people for each pensioner. The ratio fell to six to one in 2015 and will be less than three to one by 2031. Sluggish economic growth and stagnant government revenues provide no way out.

Politics has made matters worse. When the Kuomintang party (KMT) fled to Taiwan in 1949, having lost China’s civil war, it filled the army and public service with mainlanders and provided them with generous pensions. Native Taiwanese worked mainly in the private sector. Taiwan began to democratise in 1987, but the KMT continued to dominate parliament until last year, thanks in part to strong support from the public sector, whose expensive pensions it continued to defend. Over 450,000 retired teachers, soldiers and bureaucrats receive an annual payment of 18% of the lump sum they built up in their pension account before 1995—a commitment that cost the government NT$78bn last year, or 4% of its spending. Benefits are not quite so generous for those who have retired more recently, but civil servants can still stop work with lavish benefits at 55.

Ms Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party want to reduce the 18% payout to 6% over six years, subject to a minimum payment to protect poorer pensioners from poverty. They also want to cut monthly pension payments for other civil servants and teachers while raising the retirement age to 65. In addition, the president has pledged to inject an extra NT$20bn a year into the private-sector fund, which is much less generous. All this, the government reckons, will extend the life of Taiwan’s pension funds by just 10 to 15 years or so.

Lin Wan-i, the minister in charge of these reforms, says young people want even more sweeping changes. They worry that there will not be a pension for them by the time they retire. Moreover, they consider the huge payouts to the old unfair. Taiwanese workers earn about NT$39,500 a month on average. A typical monthly salary for a new university graduate is just NT$22,000. But retired high-school teachers receive a whopping average pension of NT$68,340 a month.

But pensioners see Ms Tsai’s plans as a breach of trust. More than 100,000 people demonstrated against the reforms last year. The most dogged protesters have set up a camp outside parliament. And there is the delicate matter of reforming military pensions at a time of heightened tensions with China. Ms Tsai has not yet announced her plans for that, but Mr Lin says any changes will be less drastic.
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  #193  
Old 06-12-2017, 04:46 PM
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https://www.ai-cio.com/news/former-k...uring-pension/

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Former Korean Minister Found Guilty of Pressuring Pension
Ex-health minister sentenced to 2 ½ years for leaning on national pension to approve controversial Samsung merger.

South Korea’s former health minister was found guilty of pressuring the nation’s pension fund to support a Samsung merger that had been criticized for being overly beneficial to the company’s founding family.

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced Moon Hyung-Pyo to 2 ½ years in prison for putting pressure on the state-run National Pension Service (NPS) to give its approval to a 2015 merger between two Samsung subsidiaries.

“The fact that a Health Ministry official used pressure to damage the independence of the state pension fund is highly reproachable,” the judges said after finding Moon guilty, reported the Yonhap news agency.

The charges against Moon stem from the 2015 merger of Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, which was seen as vital to the company’s familial leadership succession. However, the proposed merger was unpopular among a significant contingent of Samsung shareholders who criticized the deal for being unfairly beneficial to Samsung’s founding family members.

As the $508 billion NPS is a major investor in Samsung, the pension fund’s blessing was key to winning shareholder support of the merger. And the pension’s vote turned out to be the difference in the merger getting the green light.

Moon, who as head of the Health Ministry oversaw the National Pension Service, was found guilty of violating the pension’s independence by abusing his power to influence the fund’s vote. He was also found guilty of perjury during a parliamentary hearing for lying about his role in the merger.

Hong Wan-sun, a former head of the NPS’ operation division, was also found guilty and was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for causing damages to the fund by convincing its investment committee to support the merger. The court said Hong recommended merger approval despite knowing the merger ratio was unfair to Samsung C&T shareholders, and would therefore damage the pension fund’s stake in the construction company.

The controversy over the Samsung merger, and the allegations that the pension service was pressured to support it, helped contribute to the corruption scandals that led to the impeachment of Park Geun-hye, the former president of South Korea.


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  #194  
Old 06-14-2017, 04:08 PM
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INDIA

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-...YRFj8yE6I.html

Quote:
As the country ages, Indians seek universal pension from the government
By 2050, 32.4 million Indians, or 20% of the population, will be above 60 years of age.

India’s 860 million-strong working population (15-64 years), the world’s largest, is beginning to age. Over the next 33 years, by 2050, 32.4 million Indians, or 20% of the population, will be above 60 years of age.

If pension continues to cover only 35% of senior citizens as it does today, 20 million, or 61.7% of India’s elderly population, will be without any income security by 2050.

The Centre pays Rs 200 per month under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) to every Indian over the age of 60 and living under the poverty line (the ability to spend Rs 33 per day in urban and Rs 27 per day in rural areas as per the Tendulkar committee on poverty line). The states are encouraged to add to this sum and are free to expand the coverage. Currently, states pay anything between Rs 200 and Rs 2,000 as public pensions.

Should public pensions be universal or targeted? What should be the minimum offered by a public, non-contributory pension? From which age should it be granted? To find answers to these questions through opinions of older people, a study was conducted in Gujarat and Rajasthan by the Centre for Equity Studies (CES), New Delhi in August-November 2016.
.....
The study found a wide and conclusive gap between pension policy and public opinion. Opinion across both states was unanimous that public pension should be extended to all elderly and should be initiated earlier than at age 60 years. The popular view was that Rs 2,000 was an adequate pension sum, which is four to six times higher than their present entitlement.

.....
Start pensions earlier, say most

Many factors such as average life expectancy, age structure of the society and physical atrophy should inform the age at which pensions are initiated. The IGNOAPS initiates pensions at the age of 60 like many industrially advanced nations. But the average life expectancy in India–68 years–is much lower than industrially advanced nations. We asked people during our research whether they thought pensions should be initiated at an age earlier or later than the one stipulated by the policy at present.

Majority of people felt that pensions should be initiated at an earlier age. A little over one-fourth of respondents in Rajasthan and about one-fifth of respondents in Gujarat said they were fine with the age at which pension entitlements were provided. As with earlier questions, gender does not make a significant impact on the opinions but a marginally higher number of women support earlier initiation of pensions across both the states.

The divergence between policy and public opinion is observed across all three parameters–universalisation, adequacy as well as the age at which pensions are initiated. It is on the issue of universalisation and adequacy that there is a comparatively high degree of divergence from the policy as compared to age of initiation. We recognise that aligning completely with public opinion might not be possible for policy makers given practical constraints but this is an attempt to initiate a debate on age-based pensions in the public sphere by foregrounding public opinion and the voice of the elderly.


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  #195  
Old 06-18-2017, 03:36 PM
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IRELAND

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news...-35837672.html

Quote:
Doherty says people who 'invested in the State' should be looked after first

Newly appointed Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has given the first clear indication that she intends to fight for an increase in the old age pension during this year's budget negotiations.
Ms Doherty told the Sunday Independent her priority in the new ministry was to protect the interest of pensioners who "invested in the State and have us where we are today".
"The crucial thing for me is that they can't get a part-time job on a Saturday. They get their weekly pension and that's it. The only people who can make their lives better is the State," the minister added.

The Sunday Independent last year revealed how Fianna Fail intended to force the Government to increase the pension by at least €5 a week.
The pension was increased by €5 but the payment only came into effect in March, so pensioners missed out on the pension hike for two months.

Yesterday, Fianna Fail's social protection spokesman Willie O'Dea said he would again be pushing for an increase in the weekly pension when budget negotiations started later this year.

....
Ms Doherty said our ageing population means her department would need additional budget funding even before pension increases couldn't be considered, but insisted she was anxious to protect the interests of older people.

.....
In March, the State pension was increased by €5 to €227 per week. All other social welfare payments, including the job seeker's allowance, were also increased following tough budget negotiations between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

The Christmas bonus payment for social welfare recipients was restored to 85pc. All these measures cost the State around €300m.
The €880m public sector pay deal recently agreed by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has greatly reduced the amount of funding available for investment in other areas or for tax cuts.
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