Sun, Apr 30, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Preferential savings cuts should bolster nation: groups

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

Money saved by eliminating “preferential savings accounts” for retired military personnel, civil servants and teachers should be returned to the national budget rather going to national pension funds, labor rights campaigners said yesterday, while calling for the government to pass a long-term plan to unify the nation’s divergent pension systems.

“The NT$70 billion [US$2.3 billion] we are spending on interest for preferential savings is already in excess of what pensioners should be receiving — it should be invested into programs which benefit younger people,” Taiwan Labor and Social Policy Research Association executive director Chang Feng-yi (張烽益) said.

The preferential interest is appropriated from the national budget, while funds for pensions themselves are drawn out of pension funds financed mainly by salary deductions.

Government pension reform plans would eliminate special accounts, while money which would have been appropriated for interest payments is to be put into pension funds, increasing the number of years before the pension fund is bankrupt.

Chang also called for pensions for non-military personnel to be gradually adjusted until the civil servants’ and teachers’ pensions can be merged with a pension system for other workers.

He rejected calls to increase workers’ pensions and introduce a new universal minimum pension.

“National Labor Insurance already has a ‘guaranteed pension’ — it is just that it is only NT$3,000 a month,” he said, adding that some cuts to workers’ pensions would be necessary.

Chang also called for increases to pension fund contributions.

Taiwan Labor Front secretary-general Son Yu-liam (孫友聯) said there was no room to reasonably reject cuts, which he blamed on faulty calculations when revisions to the system were passed in 2008.

Taiwan Labor Front director Bair Jeng-shiann (白正憲) called for mandated pension fund contributions to be automatically adjusted based on fund performance, while rejecting some labor groups’ calls to retain “guaranteed payments” to pensioners.

Additional reporting by Huang Pang-pingront

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