Lawmakers pass motion on social insurance funds

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 - Page 3

The legislature yesterday approved a resolution demanding that the government assume “ultimate responsibility” for the payments under all social insurance programs that provide retirement pensions for people from various sectors.

Amid rising public concern that various pension programs are cash-strapped and could become bankrupt, lawmakers agreed to pass the resolution, initiated by the People First Party, during a plenary session without any dissenting voices.

However, the resolution is not legally binding.

At present, the government is liable for the payments under various pension programs for civil servants, military personnel, farmers and for the National Pension Insurance Fund, which covers citizens who are not covered by other social insurance funds, but not for the Labor Insurance Fund and the Labor Pension Fund.

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) has agreed that the Executive Yuan should take responsibility for pensions, but the Cabinet has not proposed a bill for legislative review.

The opposition parties failed to place on the agenda proposals to reform the pension programs and discretionary government funding because of opposition from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which blocked the proposals on Friday last week.

The KMT also blocked a proposal that would limit the coverage of the controversial year-end pension benefits for retired civil servants, public school teachers and military personnel from 423,000 people to about 42,000, and also a motion to terminate utility allowances and other allowances which are not enshrined in law and which are granted to the families of former military personnel.

The KMT caucus also blocked a motion to establish a committee to investigate the managements of various state pension funds and other government funds.

A proposal that the legislature establish a committee to probe how President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) spent his state affairs fund, a discretionary fund of NT$30 million (US$1 million), in his first two years in office, before it was raised to NT$40 million, was also blocked by the KMT.