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Views divided on bid to revise pension system

By  He Dan  (China Daily)

14:01, September 27, 2012

Proposal measures include raising retirement age and more premiums

The country's top social security fund administrator has suggested making people work longer and receive their pensions later to offset a pension fund shortfall. However, the public and experts expressed mixed reaction toward the proposal.

Dai Xianglong, chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund and a former central bank governor, said the government should "modify the (current basic pension) system instead of passively putting aside more money" to offset a pension fund shortfall.

He advised that improving the current pension system should include moving back the retirement age for some people from 60 to 63 years old and asking employees to pay pension premiums for 35 years instead of the current 30 years.

Dai made the remarks in a keynote speech at a summit forum on economic development and boosting regional cooperation in Shanghai on Tuesday, local television reported.

Experts estimated that China could face a pension fund shortfall of 18.3 trillion yuan ($2.9 trillion) by 2013 due to accelerated population aging, according to Chinese media reports.

Zheng Bingwen, head of the Global Pension Fund Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said on Wednesday that the pressure of pension shortfalls is growing because of the increasing life expectancy and shrinking workforce resulting from the family planning policy.

"To ask people to retire later is more feasible than asking them to pay a higher rate of insurance or reducing the benefits," he said.

In addition, "many developed economies set the retirement age at 65, and postponing retirement age is also a global trend," he said.

Zi Liang, deputy director of a real estate development company in Beijing, said he dislikes the idea of raising the mandatory retirement age.

"The Chinese workforce generally works longer hours and have less time for leisure than workers in many other countries. It's cruel to prolong their working life," the 32-year-old said.

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