YEREVAN, February 21. / ARKA /. The Armenian pension reform has become imperative because of demographic changes in the country, Gagik Minasyan, head of a parliamentary committee on financial and budget issues, acknowledged today.
According to the National Statistical Service, Armenia's population dwindled last year by 9,500 to a little over 3 million.
On public discontent over the new pension scheme Minasyan said such reforms are difficult to enforce in any country and Armenia is not an exception.
Armenia’s Constitutional Court suspended last month Article 76 of the new pension law, which provides for penalties for failed or delayed pension tax payments, and the third paragraph of Article 86, which obligates employed citizens to choose a pension fund, among other parts of the law. The Court says it will conclude the inquiry on March 28, 2014.
The constitutionality of the law was challenged by three opposition parties in the National Assembly — the Armenian National Congress, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Heritage Party — along with the usually pro-government Prosperous Armenia Party.
The new pension system requires that all Armenian citizens born after 1973 pay social security taxes equivalent to 5 percent of their monthly wages, which will be matched and doubled by the government. That money has to be deposited with private pension funds licensed by the government late last December. -0-