The government’s plan to scrap the National Savings Fund will have a severe impact on the elderly, a researcher from the Thailand Development Research Institute says.
Worawan Chandoevwit said the Finance Ministry’s plan to replace the fund with the retirement scheme under Section 40 of the existing Social Security Fund (SSF) Act would hurt the elderly and be in conflict with the policy on public participation.
The government should take into account equality and public participation when making any decisions, she said.
Ms Worawan said the structure of the Social Security Office was not suited to serve about 30 million people who have no rights to join any existing state retirement welfare benefit scheme as it is planned for them to be eligible for the National Savings Fund.
She stressed the National Savings Fund Act apparently involved all sectors of society, including civic networks.
The law has been in effect since May 12,2011, but civil networks have complained that the government is dragging its feet on implementing the fund.
Ms Worawan urged the government to review its policy on the issue as the law prevents fund beneficiaries from being entitled to the state-sponsored allowance for the elderly.
She appealed to the authorities to make equal contributions to the fund regardless of a member’s occupation, and that the fund’s management be handled by juristic persons, not by state offices.
Bandit Thanachaisethawut, an academic from Arom Pongpanga Foundation, said Section 40 of the SSF Act has some restrictions that prevent people in many occupations, including housemaids and farm workers, from joining the retirement programme. Those people, however, were entitled to be in the National Savings Fund.
Mr Bandit criticised Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Ministry Kittiratt Na-Ranong of lacking responsibility over implementation of the National Savings Fund even though the relevant laws are in effect.
The National Savings Fund Act includes an insurance scheme for the elderly and encourages public saving,he said.