YEREVAN, January 21. / ARKA /. Armenia’s social security and labor minister Artem Asatryan has again defended the shift to a new pension system, under which the amount of pensions will depend on workers’ lifelong social security contributions, saying it has helped to efficiently use government funds and cut the number of retirees receiving pensions below the poverty threshold.
The new pension system requires that all Armenian citizens born after 1973 pay social security taxes equivalent to 5 percent of their monthly wages. That money has to be deposited with private pension funds licensed by the government late last December.
Speaking at a news conference today minister Asatryan said this year’s budget has earmarked additional 34 billion drams to increase pensions. According to him, the number of pensioners with pensions below the extreme poverty line (21,350 drams) has dropped from 68,000 last year to 12,800 now.
Speaking about protests against the pension reform, Asatryan said it took the government ten years to get prepared to shift to the new pension system, including talks with all stakeholders along and a massive information campaign.
"However, as you know, the citizens do not show interest in this or that issue unless it concerns them directly," said the minister.
In comments on ex-president Kocharyan’s remarks that he is the “godfather" of the new pension system, the minister said that this reform is so good that he would be proud to be its "godfather". -0-