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  #171  
Old 02-13-2017, 07:04 AM
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BRAZIL

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...-quicktake-q-a

Quote:
Why Pensions Top To-Do List of Brazil’s President: QuickTake Q&A


....
1. What’s the problem with Brazil’s pensions?

Brazil spends more than 8 percent of its gross domestic product on pension benefits, according to official government figures. Though this is slightly below the average for countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Brazil has a younger population than its peers. Economists attribute the hefty cost to the lack of a minimum retirement age and the existence of several different pension systems.

2. What is Temer’s proposal?

At present, there is no minimum age for retirement in Brazil. Temer would establish a minimum retirement age of 65 for both men and women, and require 49 years of contributions to receive full benefits. These rules would apply to everyone, even civil servants. The average retirement age in Brazil right now is about 58. Of all the OECD countries, only workers in Luxembourg retire at a younger average age. There would be a gradual transition to the new system for men currently over 50 and women over 45. The military was strategically left out of the reform proposal, but the government says that’s just for now.

3. Who’s against this?

Unions say Temer’s reforms would strip Brazilians of their constitutional rights, by restricting their access to guaranteed social benefits. They argue that, rather than limiting pension benefits, the government should be looking at reducing tax breaks, closing loopholes and fighting the tax evasion that reduces the amount of revenue available for pensions. A study by Denise Gentil, a professor at Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University, says there is no pension deficit. She argues that, if all of the taxes and contributions that are supposed to fund Brazil’s entire social safety net -- which includes pensions -- were used for that purpose, they would be sufficient to fully fund all expenses. The government sometimes diverts funds to other purposes, such as discretionary spending.

4. How much money are we talking about?

The pension fund covering Brazil’s 1 million retired civil servants and military ran a deficit of over 70 billion reais ($22.4 billion) in 2016, while the fund for Brazil’s 24 million private sector pensioners was over 140 billion reais in the red. All of Brazil’s pension systems are pay-as-you-go, meaning the active labor force pays for the pensions of the currently retired. In that regard, the outlook is bleak. An estimate from the national statistics agency shows that, while the active population will fall 6.7 percent by 2060, the number of retired people will grow 263 percent. By then, with the system unchanged, Brazil would be spending 17.5 percent of its GDP on pensions, according to government figures. Because public spending is capped by law at the rate of inflation for at least the next ten years, more pension spending will mean less public investment and social spending in areas such as health and education.

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  #172  
Old 02-27-2017, 06:55 AM
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BRAZIL

http://www.economist.com/news/leader...razils-pension

Quote:
Fixing Brazil’s pension problem

At last the government is dealing with a threat to the country’s future

......

Brazilians start drawing their pensions when they are 58 years old on average, eight years younger than Americans and 14 than Mexicans (see article). Members of some groups can retire even earlier. Female teachers, for example, need to spend just 25 years in the classroom to get a full pension and even fewer for a partial one; many leave before they turn 50. Widows inherit their spouses’ full pension (provided they are 44 or older) without giving up their own. In the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, pensions replace an average of around 60% of pre-retirement income; in Brazil, 80%.
Plush pensions have their origins in the constitution adopted in 1988, which sought to confer as many rights as possible on Brazilians who had suffered under two decades of military rule. The constitution also recognises rights to education and health, but giving a pensioner a monthly cheque is easier.

Geronto-generosity hurts everyone else. The pensions bill consumes more than half the government’s non-interest spending and, if nothing is done, will within ten years gobble up 80%. As a share of GDP, Brazil spends 50% more on pensions than do members of the OECD on average. Yet it has only half as many over-65-year-olds as a share of the population. The skewed system diverts money from schools, clinics and infrastructure and lures people out of the workforce. The ongoing pension deficit from year to year accounts for more than half the budget deficit of 8.9% of GDP. That is a big reason why Brazil’s benchmark interest rate is as high as 12.25%. Extravagant pensions thus make it hard for the economy to grow. The country is undergoing the longest and deepest slump on record. If Brazil is to restore confidence in its economic future, it must do something about its pensions.

A good start



Michel Temer, Brazil’s president, therefore deserves credit for proposing reforms that would make a big difference. Earlier governments tweaked the system. The reforms proposed by Mr Temer, who became president last year after the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, would go much further. First, they would apply a minimum pension age of 65 to almost everyone (female teachers included). The stipulation of the pensionable age would be removed from the constitution, making it easier to raise the threshold as lives lengthen. To qualify for the most basic pension, all but the poorest would have to contribute for 25 years, rather than just 15. Benefits above that floor would no longer rise in step with the minimum wage, which increased by 80% in real terms in the decade to 2015. Beneficiaries will not be able to draw more than one pension; widows will receive smaller ones.
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  #173  
Old 02-27-2017, 07:06 AM
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PHILIPPINES
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/20...s-pension-hike

Quote:
Duterte ready to sign SSS pension hike

MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign “anytime soon” the order on the pension increase for the two million retirees of the Social Security System (SSS), Malacañang said Tuesday.

The president has agreed to raise the SSS pension by P1,000 to provide social protection to retirees.

SSS Chairman Amado Valdez had said the increase would take effect last February 15 but it was delayed because Malacañang has yet to sign the order that would implement it.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the communication on the pension increase is ready for submission to the president.

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“We have prepared the appropriate communication to be sent by the Office of the President to the SSS and it’s about to be signed by the president anytime soon,” Guevarra said.

SSS originally proposed a P2,000 pension hike but economic managers opposed it, saying it could bloat the liabilities of the pension fund and cut its actuarial life if not accompanied by higher contributions.
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  #174  
Old 03-14-2017, 07:54 PM
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CANADA

http://www.ai-cio.com/channel/NEWSMA...eform-Changes/

Quote:
Canada Enacts Pension Reform Changes
Canada will increase the maximum retirement benefit by more than 50%.
Canada has enacted changes to the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) that will increase the maximum retirement benefit by more than 50%, and raise the share of yearly earnings received in retirement.

“This CPP enhancement will not only mean more money for Canadians when they retire, it will also mean a stronger economy and more middle class jobs over the long term,” said Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance.

The current maximum benefit is C$13,370 ($9,926). In today's Canadian dollar terms, the enhanced CPP represents an increase of nearly C$7,000, to a maximum benefit of about C$20,000. Increased CPP contributions will be slowly phased in over a seven-year period beginning in 2019, and it will take approximately 40 years of contributions for a worker to fully accumulate the enhanced benefit.

The enhancements will increase the share of annual earnings received during retirement from one-quarter to one-third. This means that a Canadian currently making C$50,000 a year will receive about C$16,000 per year in retirement instead of roughly C$12,000 over their working life. It will also increase the maximum income range covered by the CPP by 14%.

Young Canadians entering the workforce will see the biggest rise in benefits, as enhanced benefits will accumulate gradually as individuals pay into the enhanced CPP. To fund the changes, annual CPP contributions will increase over seven years, starting in 2019. For example, someone who earns C$54,900 will contribute about an additional C$6 a month in 2019. By the end of the seven-year phase-in period, contributions for that individual would be about an additional C$43 per month.

.....
The CPP is financed by contributions from workers, employers and self-employed individuals, as well as income earned on CPP investments. The contribution rate is 9.9% of earnings between a basic exemption of C$3,500 and the “year’s maximum pensionable earnings” (C$54,900 in 2016), which approximates the average Canadian wage and is indexed to average wage growth annually. The maximum CPP contribution in 2016 is C$2,544.30 for the employee and the employer, respectively. The self-employed pay both shares.

The CPP retirement benefit currently replaces a maximum of 25% of earnings up to the year’s maximum pensionable earnings. The CPP is a “career average plan,” which means that earnings over a worker’s entire career are taken into account when calculating benefits, with certain exceptions. A full CPP retirement benefit is available at age 65; however, it can be taken up as early as age 60 with a permanent reduction or as late as age 70 with a permanent increase.

Although the maximum new retirement benefit payable at age 65 is C$13,110 per year in 2016, due to variability in earnings levels among Canadians, the average CPP retirement benefit that was paid in December 2015 to new CPP beneficiaries aged 65 was C$7,552, or about 60% of the maximum benefit.

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  #175  
Old 03-19-2017, 04:21 PM
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BRAZIL

http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-new...ension-reform/

Quote:
Nationwide Protests in Brazil Against Pension Reform
In São Paulo the protest was peaceful but in other cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, protesters clashed with police.

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Thousands once again took to the streets in Brazil to protest on Wednesday, this time against the government’s proposed pension reform. In some cities, public transportation came to a halt, leaving millions with no way to go to work.

While in São Paulo the protest was peaceful, in other cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, protesters clashed with police.

After a tumultuous early morning rush hour, with no public transportation available, thousands gathered on Avenida Paulista in the early afternoon to protest labor and pension reforms proposed by the government. The protest in the largest city in the country was peaceful.

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva participated in the protest, speaking against the Social Security reform at the end of the rally. According to Lula the current administration wants to end the gains of the working class through labor and welfare reforms.

In Rio de Janeiro, protesters concentrated around the Igreja da Candelaria in the late afternoon and marched on to Central do Brasil, Rio’s main train station.

Although most of the protest was calm, a group of demonstrators clashed with police in Cinelandia, and military police ended up throwing tear gas demonstrators and clients at the Amarelinho bar one of the most traditional and old in the city.

Brasilia, registered some of the most violent clashes with landless rural workers, family farmers as well as those demonstrating against the pension reform demonstrators occupying the Ministry of Finance for nine hours. Demonstrators broke down doors, damaged equipment and scribbled on walls. According to the organizers, 1,500 people participated in the occupation.

The pension reform, being discussed at the Chamber of Deputies, among other things increases the minimum retirement age to 65 years for men and women, with a minimum contribution of 25 years.

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  #176  
Old 03-20-2017, 04:33 PM
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SWITZERLAND

https://www.thelocal.ch/20170317/swi...this-september

Quote:
Swiss to vote on pension reform this September

The Swiss people will get the final say on reforms to the pension system in a referendum on September 24th after parliament finally agreed upon a suite of changes.
Following more than two years of discussions the package, which aims to secure funding for old age pensions, was finally passed by both houses of parliament this week, reported news agencies.

The set of reforms would see the retirement age for women raised to 65 – it is currently 64 – bringing it in line with men.

Second pillar – or occupational – pension payments will decrease from 6.8 percent of the capital per year to 6 percent, although salary deductions will go up slightly.

That will be compensated with a monthly 70 franc bonus in AVS/AHV (state pension) payments, from 2019.

The reforms will be financed by a 0.6 percent increase in VAT – currently eight percent – a change to the constitution that will be put to the people concurrently in September.

Though eventually passed by parliament, the reforms have divided Swiss political parties, with the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and Liberal-Radicals opposing the package. The political right say the reforms will threaten rather than improve the situation of old-age pensioners.

The people will ultimately decide in September.

Last year voters rejected a plan to increase pension payments by ten percent, an idea the Swiss government opposed, saying it was too expensive to fund.

In 2014 a study found Switzerland to have one of the best pension systems in the world.

Its three-pillar structure includes state, professional and private contributions.
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  #177  
Old 04-04-2017, 03:30 PM
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BRAZIL

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/a...nsion-backlash

Quote:
Anger Stirs in Brazil as Temer's Pension Drive Ignores Voters

Government failing to get public opinion behind reform plan
Unpopularity risks reform’s approval chance, market rally
A posse of shadowy ghouls lurks under the cape of a cartoon vampire bearing a passing resemblance to Brazil’s President Michel Temer on the fliers being handed out in downtown Brasilia one recent afternoon.

“They want YOUR BLOOD,” the pamphlet warns. “And your pension.”

Temer’s administration has proved adept at working the corridors of Congress but has had less success conveying its message to the Brazilian people. While the strategy has managed to get parts of his agenda through Congress, the risk is that the government will spark a popular backlash over its controversial pension reforms just 18 months away from elections.

Legislators running scared of angry voters may only approve a watered down reform that does little to address the country’s long-term problems.

There remains "a disconnect between the government’s leadership, who recognize the need to approve a robust reform to guarantee an economic recovery, and its rank and file, who is understandably concerned with the blowback from voters," Eurasia Group wrote in a note published on March 16.

Temer came to power vowing to rebuild Brazil’s financial credibility regardless of his popularity, as he says he won’t seek re-election. But, without deep changes to the pension system, his own aides say any success in reining in public spending will be short-lived. A local market rally over the past year has started to tail off in recent weeks on signs that the reform may be faltering.

Overhauling pensions -- or obliging workers to work longer -- is rarely a vote-winner, anywhere in the world. Unsurprisingly then, the Brazilian government’s proposal is proving a tough sell. According to a poll conducted earlier this month, 72 percent of Brazilians are against the reform and only 11 percent favor it -- the others didn’t express an opinion.

“There’s a perception that the government has lost the communication battle,” said Ricardo Tripoli, leader of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, one of the parties in Temer’s coalition. “Without detailing how the changes will come about, it’s harder to overcome opposition.”

.....
Marketing War

The Brazilian government has a strong case. It argues that the current system’s generosity costs 13 percent of GDP -- well above the average of developed countries -- and runs unsustainable deficits. A drop in birth rates and rising life expectancy exacerbates the problem. Youthful pensioners who start enjoying their benefits in their fifties, such as Temer himself did, also make a compelling argument for reform.

"If we don’t do this now, we’ll have to do it in three years’ time," Temer said in a speech on Wednesday. "If not, in seven years the country will grind to a halt."

A marketing war is unfolding across Brazil, and so far the government is on the back foot. Its decision to exempt the military, and more recently, state and municipal civil servants have undermined its argument that the pain will be shared equally.

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  #178  
Old 04-07-2017, 05:29 PM
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BRAZIL

https://www.ft.com/content/5d0c4ed2-...6-12672483791a

Quote:
Brazil’s pension reform a crucial signal for investors

Binary outcome looms for country’s markets and their strong gains over past year

.......


The next reform, being argued over at present, is to change the pension system and institute a new universal retirement age of 65. This is in line with much of the developed world, and would replace a current system where many are able to retire on full benefits in their early 50s. Naturally it is unpopular and there is much political horse-trading at present.
.....

Thankfully, a litmus test is in the offing. Pension reform negotiations are coming to a head. No reforms are more important. Reaching the federally mandated cuts in spending will be impossible without drastically shifting pension entitlements. The last attempt at pension reform, almost 20 years ago, failed by one vote; if this effort fails it could be a while before there is another. And failure now would also damage the government’s political momentum for other reforms.

The reverse is also true. Meaningful pension reform would be the single most meaningful step towards putting Brazil’s finances on a sustainable basis. The negotiations in Congress are due to come to a head in the next few weeks.

This looks like a binary issue for markets. Investors interested in Brazil should monitor the headlines on pension reform. With success, Brazilian assets should continue their rally. With failure, and with messy elections looming, it could be time to cut back once more.
http://www.srnnews.com/brazils-temer...cure-approval/

Quote:
Brazil’s Temer to revise pension reform proposal to secure approval

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Michel Temer plans to water down its landmark pension reform proposal to ease lawmakers’ resistance to the controversial bill key to rebalance the government’s depleted finances.
Temer said in a radio interview on Thursday he has authorized the lawmaker sponsoring the plan to alter its terms as long as he maintains the bill’s minimum retirement age. He did not specify what changes could take place.
The reform plan, submitted last year to Congress, sets a minimum retirement age at 65 for both men and women and requires more years on the job for workers to gain full pension benefits.
Those points and others to limit benefits have drawn criticism from public servants and labor unions alike, irking lawmakers who face elections next year.
A newspaper survey of lawmakers on Wednesday showed support for the proposal fell well below the 308 votes necessary to pass the lower house of Congress, with only 92 in favor and 242 against.
Arthur Maia, the lawmaker sponsoring the legislation, told reporters later on Thursday that he will change the proposal to protect the poorest without hurting the “backbone” of the amendment.
He is considering altering the transition rules for those nearing the retirement age, easing pension requirements for farmers and agricultural workers while keeping some special benefits to teachers and police.
Maia said he will unveil his proposed changes on April 18.
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  #179  
Old 04-11-2017, 02:45 PM
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SOUTH KOREA

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...reditors-argue

Quote:
Time Running Out for World’s Top Shipbuilder as Creditors Argue
by Abhishek Vishnoi , Kyunghee Park , and Jung Park
April 11, 2017, 12:27 AM EDT April 11, 2017, 7:01 AM EDT
Korean National Pension Service holds key to Daewoo survival
World’s biggest shipbuilder has losses and no cash for bonds

South Korea’s National Pension Service has a decision to make -- help the world’s biggest shipmaker survive, or let it die.

Creditors to Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. are due to meet next week to decide whether to convert some of the 1.55 trillion won ($1.4 billion) of bonds into equity to help the unprofitable company. Tipping the scale will be the decision of NPS, the biggest holder of debt that matures this month.

“If the National Pension Service doesn’t agree to the debt restructuring plan, then Daewoo Shipbuilding will no longer exist,” said Choi Gwang-shik, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul.

It’s the biggest test for South Korea’s lenders after Korea Development Bank, the shipbuilder’s majority shareholder, allowed Hanjin Shipping Co. to collapse last year after refusing to support its debt restructuring plan.

......
The meetings may come down to a face-off between KDB, which owns 79 percent of the shipbuilder, and the state pension fund, which is already embroiled in its own scandal after the arrest of its chairman.

......
2732%

Daewoo said it had 14.4 trillion won of debt and 224.3 billion won in cash and equivalents as of December. It needs to repay the NPS about 200 billion won, or 45 percent of bonds maturing in April, according to two people familiar with the matter. In total, the company owes NPS 390 billion won through 2019, the people said asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Daewoo’s debt-to-equity ratio was 2,732 percent at the end of last year, KDB said in March.

The NPS plans on taking a cautious approach to ensure the longer-term interest of the fund, said an NPS spokesman, who wouldn’t confirm the debt figure the fund holds. Daewoo will do its best to persuade the bondholders to accept the restructuring plan, a company spokesman said by phone.

.....
The trouble at South Korea’s biggest shipbuilder is the latest blowup in the beleaguered country, which has been embroiled in a political and corporate meltdown for more than a year.

On Dec. 31, a Seoul court issued a warrant for the arrest of Moon Hyung-pyo, chairman of the NPS, the world’s third-largest pension fund with $456.5 billion of assets. He was suspected of having pressured the fund, when he was a government minister, to support a controversial merger of two companies affiliated to the Samsung Group in 2015. Moon’s lawyer said the chairman denied the allegations, according to reports in Korean media. A spokesman at the Seoul Central District Court said by phone that Moon is currently under a trial over his charges including abuse of authority.
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  #180  
Old 04-11-2017, 05:47 PM
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BRAZIL

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-br...-idUSKBN17A0MZ

Quote:
Brazil's Temer says government offered 'all it could' on pension reform

Brazilian President Michel Temer said his government has offered "all it could" to ease lawmakers' resistance to a landmark pension reform bill, key to rebalance the government's strained finances, according to an interview published on Saturday.

Temer's center-right government, which took office last year pledging to tackle Brazil's massive government deficit, proposed five concessions to wavering congressmen on Friday, amid signs of resistance among legislators to the unpopular reform.

These included easing the rules on the transition to the new system and on rural workers, pensions for police and teachers, as well as benefits for the elderly and disabled.

Temer told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that he would not compromise on the central tenet of the legislation, which is introducing a minimum retirement age. While the government wants a minimum age of 65 for men, it could discuss reducing that for women, if necessary, Temer said.

"If we set the minimum age for men at 65, and 64 or 63 for women, it would not mean a big change," Temer said, adding that a different age for women is still not under discussion.

The pension plan, submitted last year to Congress, is aimed at curbing a growing deficit in Brazil's generous pension system, meant to provide rights guaranteed in the country's 1988 Constitution. It would require more years on the job for workers to gain full pension benefits.

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/a...ome-opposition

Quote:
Brazil Takes Knife to Pension Plan to Ensure Its Survival

Government willing to concede up to 20% of projected savings
Survey showed significant opposition in Congress to proposal
The Brazilian government is prepared to give up as much as one-fifth of the potential savings from its pension reform bill to ensure its approval by Congress, according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations who was not authorized to speak publicly.

A new proposal will be unveiled on April 18, including changes to protect the most vulnerable, the bill’s rapporteur in the lower house, Arthur Maia, told reporters on Thursday. Although he said the modifications would maintain the fiscal impact of the reform, the government is aware that, without concessions, the bill won’t move forward in Congress.

....
Other changes to its original proposal that the government is currently mulling include a reduction in the minimum retirement age for rural workers and allowing retirees to receive multiple benefits worth up to two minimum wages, the official said.

The approval of a "reasonably robust" pension reform remains on track, Eurasia Group political consulting firm said in a report published Thursday night. It estimates that there is a 45 percent chance that around three-quarters of the proposal will be approved and a 25 percent chance that more than half will be passed.

The original proposal was projected to save 678 billion reais ($216 billion) over the next ten years. The finance ministry declined to comment for this article and the press office of the presidential palace said negotiations over the pension plan were ongoing.

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