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Premier Li Keqiang meets the press: Full transcript of questions and answers


Updated: 2016-03-16 17:16:08


China News Service: Governments in some localities are having difficulty in paying pension benefits. Governments of some cities and counties have even borrowed money to make the payments. My question is, will the central government sit by and be hands off, or will the central government foot their bills?

Li Keqiang: You raised quite a sharp question. Honestly speaking, it is true that some localities have found it hard to make pension benefits payments, but these are only isolated cases. Now the pension schemes in China are managed at the provincial level. Our provincial governments have the responsibility and capability to raise funds through various channels to ensure the payments for pension benefits. If local governments have done their best, but still have special difficulty, the central government is prepared to extend help. In the past three years, the central government has earmarked one trillion yuan in this respect, make no mistake, local governments must exert their utmost, and the central government will supervise local governments to make sure that pension benefits are paid on time and in full.

One day, we will all be retired and live on pension benefits. So here's the message of reassurance. That is, nationally speaking and in the long run, there will absolutely be no problem in meeting pension payments by the Chinese government. Last year, the surplus of our pension insurance schemes was still at 340 billion yuan, and accumulative balance was 3.4 trillion yuan. Moreover, we still have the central social security fund, which is worth 1.6 trillion yuan, as a strategic reserve that has not been touched, and we can also use State-owned assets to replenish the social security fund. So, ensuring that the elderly will be provided for cannot and will not be an empty promise.