YEREVAN, March 25. / ARKA /. The International Monetary Fund did not put pressure on the Armenian government to make it enforce a mandatory pension scheme, Mark Horton, chief of IMF Armenia Mission, said to a news conference March 24 in Yerevan.
He said it took the Armenian government 4-5 years to prepare the pension reform, which he said clearly reflects its goal – to reduce poverty among the elderly.
He noted that the reform had been discussed with all stakeholders in Armenia and the IMF and the World Bank.
"In our opinion, this is a well-designed and well-thought reform,» said Horton.
The new pension system that took effect on January 1 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.
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 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. -0-