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China will provide old-age pensions in full, on time

By ZHANG YI | Updated: 2018-03-20 14:53
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China has the capacity to ensure old-age pensions are paid in full and on time, even though some provinces faced a shortfall of pension funds last year, Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday.

"Pension payout was something high on my mind when I visited the old industrial bases, or in my discussions with delegates during the two sessions this year," Li said.

He said there are indeed problems in certain Chinese provinces, mainly due to the decline in fiscal revenue at times of economic downturn.

But they have taken multiple measures to address the issue, including better use of existing funds, dealing with state-owned assets, or making relevant fiscal arrangements, he said, adding the central government has also provided funding support.

The balance of China's pension funds now stands at 4.1 trillion yuan, and there is also 1.8 trillion yuan of social security funds as a strategic reserve, enabling the pension benefits to be paid on time and in full, according to Li.

Meanwhile, the country will continue reform to ensure pension payments, Li said. "This year we plan to establish a central system for pension insurance funds to be used inter-provincially."

Each province will contribute 3 percent from their funds to be used across provinces, so as to fill shortfalls some provinces may suffer, he added.

In addition, the government will use some stated-owned asset proceeds to replenish the social security fund to make it run safely and more profitably, which will deliver adequate retirement support to senior people in China, Li said.

"It will be really disappointing if decades of hard work cannot earn one a decent retirement," the Premier said. "We should never see senior people as a liability. Retirement can also offer tremendous business opportunities and turn out to be an important industry. But we will never shirk the government's responsibility for adequate old age support."

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