Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Vietnam - Proposal to increase pension age faces outcry in Vietnam
A proposal on increasing pension age recently raised by Vietnam's Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) has faced outcry in the country.
In the proposal, the pension age in Vietnam is said to hike to 60 from the current 55 for women, and to 62 from 60 for men.
The increase of pension age of laborers is "an inevitable trend" and carried out by many countries, Mai Tien Dung, minister of MoLISA, was quoted by local Tuoi Tre (Youth) online newspaper as saying Wednesday.
The existing retirement age in Vietnam has been fixed for a long time. Since then, many factors have changed including improved health and average lifespan of Vietnamese people, Dung argued.
The proposal drew great attention among local specialists and citizens. Contrary to the MoLISa's idea, most of them showed concerns over the possible adjustment.
Prof. Nguyen Dinh Cu, former head of Institute for Population and Social Studies said there are many issues that need well addressing on raising retirement age of Vietnamese workers.
"The elderly in Vietnam now is a generation that underwent war and harsh economic times. These factors have had big impact on their health," Cu said, citing a national survey on the elderly and saying that two thirds of the over-60-year-old people in the survey said their health conditions were weak and very weak.
In addition, in Vietnamese society and family model, the role of grandparents is of great importance. While their kids are at working age, the elderly, who have retired, will help them in taking care of grandchildren and houses, said Cu.
"As a result, from a population perspective, I do not support the proposal," said the professor.
Echoing Cu, Dr. Nguyen Hoai Nam from southern Ho Chi Minh City's Medicine and Pharmacy University, said the country should not compare the situation of developed countries to that of Vietnam.
"Currently, the rate of unemployment among Vietnamese youth remains high. If the old did not retire, how would the young find jobs?" Nam questioned.
According to the General Statistics Office, in the first nine months this year, as many as 40,000 more people were jobless, compared to that of 25,000 during the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate at working age stood at 2.29 percent.
State employee Phan Thi Kim Lien, 53, told Xinhua that she is preparing to retire in the next two years.
"I want the current legal regulation on the issue to be maintained. Although I am in a stable health condition, sometimes I see my colleagues show signs of aging, feeling tired and want to rest. We have worked for 30-40 years now. It's time for us to rest and give chance for the young generation," said Lien.
Local citizens have made many comments on the issue, almost all of which disagreed with the proposal.
Reader called Nguyen Duy Chi said "The reason to increase pension age is not appropriate in any extent."
Earlier, the MoLISA said pension age is proposed to hike in order to avoid overspending of the social insurance fund and the aging population.
"The overspending of the insurance fund shows ill management of insurance agency," Chi added.
Holding similar cautious view, Tri Long An, another reader, wrote: "It is a policy that can have impact on lives of most workers and their families. However, the reason for it is not persuasive. There should be a national opinion poll on the issue," Tri suggested.