A senior official in charge of civil service affairs yesterday confirmed that the government would lower the preferential interest rate on designated bank savings by public servants.
“Of course we will drop” the preferential 18 percent interest rate on savings accounts held by civil servants, said Wu Chung-cheng (吳聰成), political deputy minister of the Ministry of Civil Service under the Examination Yuan.
Wu made the comment against the backdrop of a government plan, mentioned by Premier Sean Chen the previous day, to reform the retirement system for civil servants.
However, Wu said that the details of the reform plan, including interest rate adjustments, have not been finalized.
He said that reducing the 18 percent preferential interest rate is merely one aspect of the plan to reform the retirement system, which was proposed to deal with the effects of an aging society, a slump in the birth rate and a growing government deficit.
In an interview with the Chinese-language China Times on Tuesday, Chen said the Cabinet and the Examination Yuan had reached agreement on cutting the preferential interest rate and that it has the support of the public.
The preferential interest rate was introduced at a time when civil servants did not have many benefits, but since 1991 the situation has improved, Chen said.
“There is now room for the system to be changed,” he said.
On the question of by how much the rate would be lowered, the premier said it is not up to the Cabinet, but rather the Examination Yuan, which is responsible for all matters pertaining to the civil service in the country.