China on Saturday announced a pilot programme to help pension schemes meet growing pressure from an ageing society by transferring shares of state-owned firms to social security funds.
A document released by the country’s State Council, or cabinet, said the programme would begin this year with shares of up to seven SOEs to be transferred.
The plan is intended to help make up for shortfalls in the nation’s pension schemes and will be expanded in 2018 to involve more state-owned companies, the document said.
An initial 10 percent of equity in the state firms will be transferred to the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF), the state pension fund.
In a report on the plan, state-run Xinhua news agency said China has more than 200 million people over the age of 60, adding that the country “faces a severe challenge in meeting its pension obligations.”
The problem has become particularly acute in certain regions like the northeastern China industrial belt, home to many elderly former workers at now struggling state-owned companies.
China earlier this year began allowing pension funds to invest in stocks and other assets to help expand their returns.
The State Council said the plan would help foster a more sustainable pension system and promote reform of state-owned companies.
“Over the course of economic development and the ageing of the population, the pressure on basic pension payments has continuously increased,” it said.
On FaceOff this week, the spotlight moved on to the issue of pension in the nation, with reports of harrowing experiences of these pensioners who have served their fatherland during their younger days.
A pensioner Femi Phillips pointed accusing fingers at a Mr.Adodo who is a state coordinator for Federal pensioners saying him and his cohorts devised ways of shortchanging these pensioners of their pensions, while Adodo on his part debunked these claims.
The federal government has approved the sum of N34 billion for the payment of accrued retirees’ entitlement.
This was made known by the National Pensions Commission (PENCOM)on Friday.
According to PENCOM, the payment is for those who have registered with the Pension Fund Administrators, under the Contributory Pension Scheme.
According to PENCOM, the approval was given by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the economy, Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, following the submission of the National Pensions Commission to the Senate.
It would be recalled that the Senate, earlier in the year investigated the allegations of fraud in the pensions industry.
Civil service pensioners under the Joint Committee of Association of Federal Pensioners have demanded the dissolution of the Pension Task Force team set up in 2010 to handle pensions in the country.
Staging a peaceful protest at the premises of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, they said the task force team has created more problems for pensioners than it has solved in three years.
They said a permanent solution to the pension’s discrepancies in the country is to set up a Civilian Pension’s Board as provided in the Pension Reform Act of 2004 and recently recommended by the Senate joint Committee on Administration of Pension Funds in Nigeria.
The elderly and retired-protesters started the day with a news conference where they gathered to lament the non-payment of their entitlements over different periods of time.
Led by their chairman, Mr. James Bassey, their major demands are; payment of their pension and gratuity arrears, benefits owed deceased pensioners for over six years as well as the 53.4 per cent derivative approved by the presidency in 2010.
They also asked for the immediate dissolution of the Pension Task Force team headed by Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina and the establishment of a new pension board so that the Head of Service ceases to handle civil service pensions.
To drive home their demands, they proceeded to stage a protest at the Head of Services’ office which is also the premises of the Pension Task Force team.
Defying the rains, they chanted and raised placards to demand the sack of head of the team and the release of funds for their pensions.
Efforts by Channels Television to reach the Head of Service and the head of the Pension Task Force team proved abortive as the protest caused mild traffic jam at the Federal Secretariat Abuja.