19 April 2019, Friday, 0:38
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"Blank Papers for Pensioners Instead of Money"

The authorities continue their adventure with the pension system.

January 1 Belarus raised the retirement age by other six months.

Now men have to work till 61.5 years and women till 56.5 years.

The former Minister of Labour Aliaksandr Sasnou answers questions of Charter97.org about the retirement age increase:

- Cognition comes through comparison. If we compare the pension situation with living standards in our country and, for example, in Poland, it turns out that our state has decided to save on pensioners.

In 2018 local budgets, the Social Security Fund (SSF) is also formed from, suffered deficit. At that, the economy will suffer losses caused by the tax maneuver of Russia (it is about 12 billion dollars), and the budget will face huge payments of state debt interest. It is clear that raising of the retirement age may getsome money at the expense of the vulnerable part of the population.

On the other hand, there are countries in the world where people have no pensions at all. Our government has a goal to reach.

One thing is evident: the Belarusian state ensures the survival of pensioners.

If the pension reform is passed in Belarus, it should have been initiated much earlier, when there were much more preserved economic resources in the country. It could have born less disadvantages for the population than now.

But Drazdy can hardly realize it. That's the kind of power we have.

- In 2019 pensions and salaries will be raised for the Belarusian military. Why not for everyone? What is a reason for such discrimination?

- It's dangerous to hurt people with guns. Every government knows it. Therefore, the military comes first. The rest of us can wait.

By the way, Labour Minister Iryna Kastsevich said that all pensions would slightly increase. However, it does not mean an increase for civilians, but pensions are brought into line with "socio-economic indicators"...

- But the indicators, put it mildly, are far from perfect... Even official statistics indicate a "hole" in the pension fund. How is it possible to "raise" anything?

- And nothing is raised in real terms. The authorities have a lot of levers for wishful thinking.

One of them to be likely used by Lukashenka - to start printing money and handing out blank papers to pensioners.

Therefore, formally Kastsevich will fulfill her "promises". In fact, the authorities will distribute blank papers to people increasing inflation in the country.

The economy will not benefit from these "indicators". The financial sector of Belarus is already under pressure of huge external debt. Although Lukashenka has recently sworn blind that he "hasn't made a penny of debt." But, alas, these are empty words as well as papers for payment to pensioners.

- The minimum insurance record required for a pension has increased this year from 16.5 years to 17 years. What are possible consequences?

- Given the same indicator, many Belarusians were trapped by the insurance record and remained without pension at all. I think the number of such people will only increase.

I'd like to stress that it's illegal to deprive Belarusians of pensions due to the increase of the retirement age and the minimum insurance record. And everyone who has faced it can file a petition for his well-earned pension precisely at the age which, according to the law, was retiring at the moment of the beginning of the work experience.

According to the Constitution, any law adopted in the country should not be retroactive. This is the rule advanced countries adhere to. And only here Lukashenka says: this year it has equaled to 60 years, next year will be 61 years. This is an ignorant statement, which should not be implemented. If we want the law applied, employment contracts concluded by citizens 60 years ago must first be cancelled, and then the retirement age should be increased.

Otherwise, it's all a fiction and another offense on the part of the Belarusian authorities.

- Last Friday Labour Minister Iryna Kastsevich stated that following the example of Europe, Belarus had to raise the retirement age for women. It should be as high as for men. What would you like to say?

- Did she say anything about the level of pensions here and there? She might have forgotten something about the European pension statistics or just doesn't know... Or she may know it perfectly and play it down.

If Kastsevich wants the gap between the retirement age of men and women to disappear, then let her do it. But to begin with, let her ensure the level of pensions as in Europe. I'd like to remind our forgetful minister that pensions there are not less than 40% of an average salary received for 20 years.

Interestingly, Kastsevich cited demographic indicators in Belarus as an argument. Is the minister upset that women live too long and work too little? At least it would be weird to hear such a statement of a European politician.

I'd like Iryna Kastsevich to remember that almost every Belarusian woman has two jobs. In addition to the main job, women are even more involved in household duties than men. They also raise those who will be actively engaged in the economy and will provide payments to the pension fund. At least that's why they deserve to retire earlier.

In general, to improve the demographics Kastsevich refers to, women should work less and be able to retire earlier.

- You say that time has been missed for the pension reform in Belarus. And how and when would you pass it, if Lukashenka had not been in power, and you had remained the Minister of Labour?

- I would not have passed at all. I would entrust this to specialists who learned directly from the experience of other countries, those with the better pension situation.

First of all, I would pay attention to the experience of Poland and Sweden. I would invite specialists well-versed in the pension system of these countries.

Instead of examining a successful experience of other countries, the current authorities are engaged in adventures and doom pensioners to struggle for survival.