Cutting down year-end pension bonuses for government retirees is a painful yet necessary decision in the pension reform, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday, promising to continue reforms in a steady and transparent way.
“It is our responsibility to push forth reform and explain the situation to the public. A good president does not leave the problem to the next generation. The road to reform is an uphill path. We are determined to continue reforms in order to improve Taiwan,” Ma, who also serves as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, said during a meeting with party delegates in Greater Tainan.
Ma said the cut was a necessary response to the public’s demand for a fairer pension system amid the nation’s fiscal difficulties.
The KMT caucus on Friday consented to support Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) in scaling down year-end pension benefits for government retirees for the Lunar New Year next year and cut the benefits budget of NT$20.2 billion (US$694.1 million), included in the government’s budget statement for next year, to NT$1.14 billion.
The bonuses for government retirees, the scale of which is decided on a yearly basis, have been in place since 1972. The budget cut has attracted opposition from within the KMT, while the opposition camp called for reforms addressing the long-existing gap between benefits for workers and civil servants.
Issues related to the government’s pension reform were the center of discussions in the party delegate meeting yesterday, as many urged the government to strengthen communication with party members in delivering government policies.
Ma said the government would explain the policies to the public and present solid solutions to the fiscal problem.