Two draft bills for the Social Security Fund should be amended to increase the government’s contribution rate and improve the fund’s operating cost, accountancy standards and management efficiency, say two think tanks.
The recommendations came from the King Prajadhipok Institute (KPI) and Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).
The fund covers all income earners working for registered employers except government officials, which are covered by the Government Pension Fund.
Of four proposed drafts on the fund, two were approved in principle by the House of Representatives. They belong to the cabinet and Raywat Areerob, a Democrat MP.
The two rejected bills were from Wilaiwan sae Tia, a labour activist and head of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, and around 12,000 citizens; and Nakhon Machim, another Democrat MP.
The House’s rejection of Ms Wilaiwan’s draft has raised strong reactions from activists who argued they were treated unfairly.
The draft by the cabinet seeks to expand the definition of beneficiaries to cover income earners in the informal sector, increase contributions and improve the accountancy and disclosure rules of the fund’s management.
Mr Raywat’s called for more participation by employees and employers in the committee through direct election of their representatives, the right to disqualify representatives and equal benefits for informal and formal workers.
The agencies that reviewed the drafts found that a key setback for the Social Security Office (SSO) in attracting just 6% of eligible informal workers to join its pension scheme is inadequate financial contributions from the government.
They proposed that the government pay contributions to the beneficiaries as an even sum of the members’ contribution, from half of the sum written in the cabinet’s draft.
The KPI and TDRI said the four drafts failed to indentify clear qualifications of the representatives of employers and employees.
Mr Nakhon and Ms Wilaiwan’s rejected drafts call for an audit committee and an increase of fund management members to maximise the benefits for members.
The existing law allows the SSO to set aside up to 10% of contributions for administration. The KPI and TDRI proposed that the ceiling be cut to 5% as the SSO’s actual expenditure stood at around 3% of the total contribution.
First published in Bangkok Post, 9 April 2013