MPF Scheme Goes Into Operation in HK

The Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Schemes aimed at providing a formal system of retirement protection, officially went into operation in Hong Kong Friday, December 1.

"At long last, after almost 30 years of hard work by all sectors of the society, we are here today to witness the commencement of the MPF System. This is indeed an important milestone in Hong Kong's further advancement as a developed economy," said Chairman of the MPF Authority Charles Lee Yeh-kwong at a press conference Friday.

"Today, retirement protection is no longer a benefit for the fortunate few. It is now a right, enshrined in the law, of all members of the three million-plus workforce," he said.

About 1.44 million employees and 124,000 self-employed persons have joined MPF schemes by December 1. This represents 71 percent and 44 percent of the total relevant population respectively.

About 135,000 employers have signed up for MPF schemes, representing about 54 percent of the total relevant population, according to the MPFA.

Speaking at the same press conference, MPFA's Managing Director Rafael Hui said an enforcement team has been set up to protect the MPF rights of employees.

The MPF schemes, which cover members of the workforce aged 18 or above, require employees to contribute 5 percent of their monthly salaries and their employers the same amount.

All contributions will be entrusted to privately managed trustees approved by the MPFA for administration and investment.

Hong Kong has a rapidly aging population. People aged 65 and above currently account for about one-tenth of the population. This proportion is estimated to increase to 13 percent by 2006, and to 20 percent by 2036.

HK to Implement MPF As Scheduled

The Hong Kong government will implement the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF), a scheme to provide retirement protection to local employees, as scheduled on December 1, this year.

"MPF is a very important social project with a far reaching impact on the entire working population. Short-term economic conditions should not halt the launch date since MPF contributions require a long time span to reach maturity and accrue sufficient benefits," said Ernest Lee, executive director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority.

People's Daily Online ---