Experts on raise of retirement age in Kazakhstan04 april 2013, 13:13
On March 12 Kazakhstan Labor Minister Serik Abdenov announced that plans were there to gradually raise the retirement age for women from the current 58 y.o. to 63 y.o. within a decade.
Several Kazakhstan experts expressed their opinions about the government’s initiative.
Doctor of Economics Magbat Spanov believes that raising the retirement age has to be justified. “When the law was adopted and the retirement age was set forth, the average life expectancy was much lower than it is now. But life expectancy increases with improvement of life quality. I have talked to foreign experts about pros and cons of western pension systems and reforms. They say that pension payments are calculated for 8 years after retirement in average. Our women retire at the age of 58 and the payments are calculated for 8 years. After that the pension expenses are inured by the state budget,” the expert said.
“This is a purposeful step from economic point of view. Another question is that raising the pension age requires improving the labor conditions. We have to improve the labor efficiency and the trade unions have to develop at the same time to protect the rights of the employees,” he added.
Magbat Spanov. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
Well-known Kazakhstan political expert Daniyar Ashimbayev thinks that raising retirement age is justified by both economic and medical-psychological factors. “The period of the people’s social and labor activity has increased. Many people work till the age of 60-70 and do it quite actively,” he said.
The expert notes that measures like raising of retirement age are inevitable in case there is a real problem of pension saving deficit and Kazakhstan will be able to afford not-raising the retirement age only when its economy runs like clockwork.
Daniyar Ashimbayev. Photo courtesy of dialog.kz
Secretary General of Azat party Amirzhan Kossanov and deputy Director of the Public Problems Analysis Center Kanat Berentayev are against the reform.
“I consider such suggestion not only the government’s actual acknowledgement of their inability to manage pension savings, but also a direction violation of Article 1 of the Constitution that defines Kazakhstan as a social state! It also contradicts with the pre-election promises of the ruling Nur Otan party! In fact it would be a timely step if the president instructs to make liable all those who have been submitting beautiful reports on the status of the pension sector during all these years and are now unable to solve the problem without increasing tensions in the society. This is not only asocial but also amoral! How can we make men’s and women’s retirement age equal?! Women have completely different problems than men: giving birth and raising children, housework that includes cooking, washing and other family stuff. Then Kelimbetov has to initiate the Government decree to oblige all men to take over 50 percent of the housework! Yes, there are certain categories of women who would like to work after 58. Then we have to give every woman a choice: either retire at 58 or continue working. This will be the most adequate solution,” Kossanov said outraged.
Amirzhan Kossanov. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
“I am negative about this initiative and creation of the common pension fund. The country has no objective reasons for raising the retirement age. The population is getting older everywhere, while our population is quite young. That’s why considering that raising of the retirement age is the panacea for improvement of the pension system’s efficiency is absolutely wrong. There is no economic benefit for the state in that. We need a new policy of employment and labor payment. 30 percent of our efficient population is unemployed. This is 600 thousand of official unemployed, as well as 2 million of self-employed plus the shadow economy where salaries are paid in envelopes and no deductions to the pension funds are made. The older generation of self-employed people starts retiring and they have to have at least the basic pension, which means a load on the budget. So let’s postpone this issue for at least 5 years and see what happens,” Kanat Berentayev said.
Kanat Berentayev. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
Kazakhstan Vice-PM Kairat Kelimbetov stated that there was no political undercurrent in the decision to raise the retirement age for women.
“We unveiled the draft legislation on the planned state-run single pension fund (…) alongside with that the country’s Labor Minister Serik Abdenov who unveiled some amendments into the current pension legislation. Notably, the Minister suggested to gradually raise the retirement age for women. The draft amendments are at the stage of discussions”, he said.
Kairat Kelimbetov. ©pm.kz
Central Bank Governor Gregory Marchenko also once again commented on raising of the retirement age for women. He stressed that a major issue was lack of decent working conditions: “I believe middle-aged women need decent working conditions in the first place; should there be decent working conditions in place, the issue of retirement would be of much less importance. I want to remind that both women and men in our country can retire early in case their pension savings are sufficient. Women who have given birth to five children can retire at 50 (…) in the National Bank of Kazakhstan there are over 300 women aged over 55 and over 200 women aged over 58. When there are decent working conditions in place, everyone is willing to work as long as possible”.
Gregory Marchenko. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©