Sunday, 21 July

Minister Tandilyan and Pension System Opponents Meet to Iron Out a Compromise

Opponents of a mandatory payment pension system, set to go into effect in Armenia on July 1, met yesterday  with Armenian Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Maneh Tandilyan in a last- minute attempt to draft a series of modifications that would make the system more acceptable.

The system, as presently constituted, requires most wage earners born in and after 1974 to pay 2.5% of their revenue into the system. The government would kick in another 7.5%.

Levon Harutyunyan, a member of the Dem Em (I Oppose) group, told Hetq that activists from his and other groups attended the meeting with Tandilyan and told the minister that the mandatory payment clause of the system must be removed.

Harutyunyan said activists also told Tandilyan that the system must allow individuals to change their pension funds and that the contracts to be signed with the funds must be more intelligible.

Activists also called for the funds to guarantee a minimum rate of return.

Harutyunyan says the activists will meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in an attempt to organize a round of public hearings on the pension issue.

The activist says that Tandilyan seems to favor a new pension system law, rather than making changes to the current one.

Yelk Faction Secretary Gevorg Gorgisyan also attended the meeting, describing it as “constructive”.

“All those who attended were not concerned about their own money, but for the country and the risks involved. It was a wide-ranging discussion involving experts from various sectors. They all expressed their views, and the minister noted them all,” Gorgisyan told Hetq.

Tandilyan, who was appointed minister last month, had her own concerns about the mandatory funded pension component of the pension system.

Her disagreements with the government on the matter led her to resign on June 12. At the time, she said that the issue was of “principled importance” for her given that the public does not support making mandatory pension payments and that the issue must be discussed and debated at length.

Tandilyan returned as minister on June 21, after reaching an agreement with Prime Minister Pashinyan to hold talks on the matter involving the government and those opposed to the system.

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