Fri, Oct 27, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Committee cancels planned pension package reforms

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Reforms intended for the retirement packages of teachers, soldiers and civil servants who are entitled to an 18 percent preferential interest rate on their savings should be canceled and the Ministry of Civil Service must draw up new reforms within two months, a legislative committee resolved yesterday.

Minister of Civil Service Chu Wu-hsien (朱武獻) told the legislature's Organic Laws and Statutes Committee yesterday that the reform package affects more than 31,000 people: 20,000 teachers and 11,000 civil servants.

Chu said that the old retirement package had put the administration in a dire financial situation. As of last year, central and local governments as well as the Bank of Taiwan had subsidized payments to retirees by more than NT$60 billion (US$1.87 billion). The subsidies are expected to peak at NT$100 billion in 2015, he said.

People First Party caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟), who chaired the committee meeting, called for cross-party negotiation to discuss the matter.

Committee members approved the reform package on the 18 percent preferential rate for the savings of teachers, soldiers and civil servants who chose to obtain their retirement pension as a lump-sum.

The committee, however, ordered a halt to another reform package on the 18 percent preferential rate for the savings of teachers, soldiers and civil servants who obtain their civil servants' health insurance retirement fund as a lump-sum.

The committee attached four riders to the resolution. Firstly, the committee condemns the Examination Yuan and the minister of civil service for "acting in utter disregard of the law" by defying the committee's resolution made in March and implementing the reform package on Feb. 16.

Secondly, the committee proposed that certain members of the ministry should be disciplined by the Control Yuan.

Thirdly, the committee requested the ministry upgrade the legal status of the statute on the one-time retirement pension.

Finally, the committee requested the ministry hammer out a new reform package within two months and present it to the Examination Yuan for approval before sending it to the legislature for notification.

The committee's resolution requires the signatures of all legislative caucuses to become binding.

If the resolution fails to win the support of all the caucuses, a vote needs to be called at the plenary legislative session or more rounds of inter-party negotiations should be held.

The Democratic Progressive Party caucus yesterday made it clear that they would not endorse the resolution.

Meanwhile, the committee yesterday reviewed the budgets requested by the Examination Yuan and its agencies: the Ministry of Civil Service, the Ministry of Examination, the Civil Service Protection and Training Commission and the National Civil Service Institute.

The committee slashed the budgets by NT$34.55 million. It also froze 80 percent of the expenditure proposed by the Ministry of Civil Service and one-third of the Examination Yuan's requested expenses, leaving NT$330.58 million at its disposal.

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