Archive for the ‘Pensions’ Category

New Zealand’s universal pension is in danger

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

New Zealand has a universal pension scheme that is the envy of the world. It is simple, affordable, and eliminates poverty in old age. When a qualified resident reaches the state pension age, he or she receives a basic, flat pension, regardless of income, wealth or employment history. This benefit, called ‘Superannuation’, is financed from general government revenue. Earmarked taxes are not levied to support it, but benefits are taxable as regular income, so net benefits are lower for pensioners who have income from work or from savings. (more…)

expanding old age pensions in Bangladesh

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

A daily newspaper in Bangladesh reports that the finance ministry has announced “plans to introduce a universal pension system for both public and private sector employees”. Reading the column, however, shows that the scheme is not universal. It is contributory, and private. If there are no contributions, there will be no old age pension. Government involvement will be limited to matching grants equal to 25 to 50% of the contributions of low-income savers.

The scheme seems to have been promoted by the World Bank. (more…)

old age pensions in the Philippines

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

In January 2017, the government of the Philippines increased social security pensions by 1,000 pesos (19 US dollars) a month without any increase in contributions. Simultaneously, the government reduced income taxes. A young Philippine economist writes that this was bad policy first because it increases government deficits and second because it helps the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

Fewer than a third of the country’s workers have access to any retirement pension at all. The vast majority of pensions are from the social security system, and the beneficiaries are not exactly poor. Increasing their pensions by increasing deficit spending does not help those who do not participate in the social security system, so have no entitlement to a pension in old age.

It would be much better, this economist believes, for government to introduce a universal pension, payable to all residents from the age of 60. I agree, and am pleased to see this call for a simple, universal pension in a country with so much poverty.

All in all, the yawning gaps of the country’s social pension system require bold, comprehensive, and forward-thinking solutions like universal social pension – not simplistic, superficial, and short-sighted ones like [Rodrigo] Duterte’s pension hike. ….
(more…)

universal health care and universal pensions

Friday, April 27th, 2018

This week’s Economist magazine contains a superb leader, “Universal health care, worldwide, is within reach“. Reading it, it occurred to me that many of the points in it apply equally to universal basic income for older persons.

In a major section of the leader, titled “How the other half dies”, I did little more than substitute “universal basic pensions” for “universal basic health care”, and came up with the following essay. (more…)

pre-funding social pensions in Bermuda

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

At least some residents of Bermuda, a wealthy self-governing British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean, with a tiny population of 63,779, are worried that government has not saved enough to pre-fund its noncontributory old-age pension promises. Benefits as of 2015 were US$103.81 a week for residents aged 65 and older with total annual income greater than $4,000 and US$106.83 a week for residents with less income. Additional requirements are citizenship and at least 10 years of continuous residence in Bermuda in the past 20 years. (more…)

private and social pensions in Latin America

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

FIAP (Federación Internacional de Administradoras de Fondos de Pensiones/International Federation of Pension Funds Administrators), the Latin American trade group of private administrators of government-mandated contributory pensions, now acknowledges the need for social pensions, financed from general government revenue. Private managers of Latin American pension funds in the past tended to ignore social pensions, at least in part because these provide little or no opportunity for private profit.

A recent 9-page FIAP report begins by explaining the need for social pensions: (more…)

call for universal pensions in the Philippines

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Senator Grace Poe has filed a Bill to provide all citizens aged 60 years and older a monthly pension of P1,500 (US$29). (more…)

towards universal health care in Burkina Faso

Friday, March 30th, 2018

When only 1% of your population has health insurance, the road to universal coverage is a long one. Burkina Faso is beginning this journey, but is off on a rocky start.

In 2012 an initiative was launched to provide healthcare for the “poorest of the poor”. The International Social Security Review, a journal published for the International Social Security Association under the under the auspices of the International Labour Organization, has an article on this in the latest issue. Unfortunately, it is available to subscribers only. I do not have a subscription, so could only read the abstract, which I reproduce below.

The initiative was not successful, as might have been predicted, as the poor were required to make co-payments, no doubt on top of their insurance contribution, and were limited to three visits to a doctor or hospital per year. It is not clear from the abstract if this limitation was per family or per family member. (more…)

Kenya launches universal pensions

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Beginning this month – January 2018 – every resident of Kenya over the age of 70 years is entitled to a pension funded solely by general government revenue. The pension is modest, and the age of entitlement is high, but it is an excellent beginning. Previously, only 240,000 of the 390,000 Kenyan citizens over 70 years of age received means-tested, targeted pension benefits. Targeting will continue for social pensions given to persons between the ages of 65 and 69 years. (more…)

social pensions in Myanmar

Friday, December 29th, 2017

Social pensions in Myanmar are tiny, and provided to fewer than 40,000 older persons. The country is taking modest steps to increase the size and coverage of pensions. Much remains to be done. (more…)