YEREVAN, March 19. / ARKA /. The government of Armenia indicated today it is ready to engage in dialogue with young activists from Dem Em (I'm against) pressure group, who want it to revoke a new controversial pension scheme that came into force on January 1.
Speaking at a Cabinet session Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said: "We are ready to dialogue with these young people, because ‘all or nothing” approach is not acceptable, neither to us nor to them.”.
The prime minister added that there is no reform without flaws and therefore’ we need to work to fix them”.
He also said the government receives letters with the signatures of thousands of young people who are opposed to the introduction of the mandatory funded pension system, and who emphasize that they love their country and are concerned about its future.
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.
Crowds of young members from Dem Em have been demonstrating outside government agencies in the city since the beginning of the year. They fear that they may be unable to retrieve their pension savings after retirement.
However, the government says the two private pension funds chosen to handle their money are owned by renowned European asset management firms. One of them is a joint venture between Austria’s C-QUADRAT Investment and Germany’s Talanx Asset Management. The other, Amundi-ACBA, is a subsidiary of the French banks Credit Agricole and Societe Generale.
Armenia’s Constitutional Court suspended last month Article 76 of the new 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 is scheduled to open on March 28 hearings on the constitutionality of the unpopular measure challenged by Armenia’s four main opposition parties- the Armenian National Congress, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Heritage Party and the Prosperous Armenia Party.-0-