Officials praise new pension reforms as they come into force

2018/07/01 19:17:07 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, July 1 (CNA) With pension reforms for civil servants, teachers and military personnel coming into force Sunday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she was thankful to those affected by the pension cuts for their understanding of the need for reform, as that made it possible.

Tsai expressed her gratitude in a Facebook post, in which she also thanked fellow nationals.“It is because of your understanding, support and wisdom that reform of the pension systems, which should have been undertaken earlier, was accomplished smoothly,” she said in the post.

The president wrote the message when she reposted an open letter from Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) addressed to fellow nationals on his Facebook page.

In the letter, Chen said that the implementation of the new pension systems “marked the beginning of a new era” in which the viability and sustainability of the pension system can be ensured so that everyone can collect their pension benefits for years to come.

On taking office in May 2016, Tsai listed one of her key policy priorities as shoring up the finances of the deficit-ridden pension systems and appointed Chen to lead a commission under the Presidential Office to steer discussion with a view to introducing reforms.

Had the changes not been made, the pension program for military personnel would go bankrupt in 2020, for teachers in 2030 and civil servants in 2031, according to statements previously made by the Ministry of Civil Service.

Lin Wan-i (林萬億), minister without portfolio in charge of drafting reform proposals, said the reform has defused the crisis that, if left unaddressed, would have exacerbated the government's fiscal position and undermined its ability to realize other policy objectives.

Defense Minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said that the new pension program for military personnel that prioritized the rights and interests of mid-level and junior officers is expected to boost recruitment as Taiwan transits to an all-volunteer force.

He added that the formula used to calculate the income replacement ratio, in which the ratio will increase by 2 percent for every extra year of service beyond 20 years, is expected to encourage longer careers in the armed forces.

However, despite such official comments on the new pensions systems, protesters continue to demonstrate and are seeking a Constitutional interpretation of the new laws in an effort to have them declared invalid.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Yu Kai-hsiang)

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