In the post-Soviet region there remain only three countries where the ‘Soviet’ pension age has remained: 55 years old for women and 60 for men. These are Belarus, Russia and Uzbekistan. Other countries have already raised the pension age. The underlying reason for this is purely economic.
Whether there should be a rise or not
As the nation grows old there is less manpower. 27 percent of the population are pensioners, by 2020 this will have increased to 29 percent. The issue of increasing the `old age threshold` is just a matter of time. Should the rise be put into practice, there will be some benefits. The number of workers in the country will increase, and the social security fund deficit (which pays pensions) will be reduced. It will also bring GDP growth of more than one percent by 2019.
Experts are sure that if the age of retirement is increased by just one year, money will start flowing into the budget. This will strengthen many social programmes aimed at the elderly. For example, if the reform had been implemented last year, 141,700 people would not have retired. And it would have been possible to save almost $260 million on pension payments.
Let the people decide
Alexander Lukashenko repeatedly announced that the issue, which affects each resident of Belarus, cannot be resolved without the public’s opinion. He suggested finding out what that opinion is using official statistics. The Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences was entrusted to investigate the issue. Its experts have already asked Belarusians about probable reform in 2013. At that time, more than a half were not in favour. 18 percent of respondents said that they would work longer if the pension is higher. 60 percent did not object if the `term` is increased by a small amount such as one year.
Receive as much as you have worked for
The government listens to the people, but has already had to carry out some reforms. Unlike the Russians, for the last three years Belarusians have had the choice of retirement or to delay. If a person continues to work and does not receive their pension, in the future they will receive a bonus for each `overtime` year. Everyone has the right to decide what suits them best. Since this year, the size of the pension began to depend on length of service and obligatory insurance payments. Now the old-age pension is guaranteed to the worker who made payments into the state non-budget social security fund amounting to 15 years and 6 months. Since January 1st 2017, the insurance length of service will increase by 6 months, growing each year until it reaches 20 years.
According to the Deputy of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, Zinaida Mandrovskaya, it is quite fair, “Those who worked more and paid more insurance payments into the social security fund, should receive higher pensions.”
Marianna Shchetkina, Minister of Labour and Social Protection:
We cannot escape from an increase in pension age. It would be ideal, if we could synchronise our actions within the limits of the Union State.
Lidia Yermoshina, Chair of the Central Commission of the Republic of Belarus on Elections and Holding Republican Referenda:
We cannot exist as a certain social oasis in the world. Belarus does not have the economic capacity to preserve the same privileges as in the past. The pension age needs to be raised. But it is necessary to provide pension privileges, for example for women who gave birth and brought up at least two children. Such a policy will have positive effects on the well-being of the country.
By German Moskalenko