Updated at 17:19,07-01-2021

Lukashenka wants pension age raised by three years

By Alyaksey Alyaksandraw, BelaPAN

Minsk, 18 March. Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced on Friday that he wanted the retirement age to be gradually raised by three years for both men and women.

Speaking during his visit to state-owned candy company Kamunarka in Minsk, Mr. Lukashenka suggested that the pension age be raised by six months every year, according to the government's news agency BelTA.

«You will be able to work for six months more, right?» he told the company's employees. «And so we will be able to absorb calmly this three-year rise within six to seven years.»

Mr. Lukashenka explained that the government was forced to raise the retirement age because of too low salaries, which he said have not been rising.

«And the pension fund accumulates a share of salaries. Since pay has not been growing while prices have, living standards have been falling, even if only by 0.5 or one percent,» he said.

He revealed a Social Security Fund shortfall that had forced the government to allocate money out of the budget for paying pensions in March. «The pension fund is short of money, especially for raising pensions,» he said.

«The question is what we should do. Should we reduce pensions? Have you ever seen pension being reduced? People should not be offended, so we cannot take this measure. But this is not what matters most. It is important to me as a father that we should not pass these problems on to our children. We must overcome these problems ourselves.»

Mr. Lukashenka expressed certainty that more jobs would be created in Belarus. «We need to put pressure on those leaders who should create jobs and create ourselves small, medium-sized and large companies, so that there are jobs,» he said.

He announced that he had rejected a government proposal to replace the current pay-as-you-go system, whereby state benefits to retirees are paid out of contributions from current workers, with defined contribution pension plans.

«Maybe one day our society will become ready to destroy this system and leave only defined contribution plans in place,» he said.