President reaffirms resolve on pension reforms

Taipei-- President Tsai Ing-wen (???) reaffirmed her resolve to reform the country's pension system and make it a sustainable system, at the opening of a national conference on pension reform on Sunday.

The process of bringing forth the extensive pension reform proposals that took the government six months to solicit was meant not only to let the public better understand the content and importance of the reforms but also to make the proposals more substantive and reasonable, according to Tsai.

She said the draft pension reform proposals were completed after gathering public opinions from all sectors of society during 20 meetings and four regional forums held by the pension reform committee over the past six months.

The proposals are aimed at carrying out pension reforms in a gradual manner to reduce their impact on those concerned, according to Tsai.

The president said that the reforms will include ending the preferential 18 percent bank interest rate on pension deposits for public sector employees in six years and seeking to gradually lower the income replacement ratio -- the percentage of income a person needs to keep up the same standard of living after retiring -- in order to improve the efficiency in the management of pension funds.

Also, the combination of party and government service years and the years of service as political appointees and career civil servants for calculating civil servant pension benefits should be reformed, Tsai added.

All of the key reforms are to ensure the long-term sustainability of the national pension system, the president said.

Despite major obstacles to reforms that the government faces in different domains, it must proceed with the reform plans as scheduled, Tsai added.

Explaining why a number of meetings on reforming the pension system were held, Tsai said that this was because the government wants all parties concerned to express their views through expanded public participation before the government officially brings forth a final version of the reform plan and submits it for review by the Legislative Yuan.

The pension system's bankruptcy crisis has been looming for decades and the government has spent more than six months sorting out the problems and proposing solutions, Tsai said, adding that she believes it's worth the effort, because during the process, people's understanding of the system has improved, while more people's opinions about the system have been heard and infused into the reform proposals.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel