Pension Reform: Secure or Endangered Old Age
16.01.2014
17:00
A television discussion, entitled “Pension Reform: Secure or Endangered Old Age” was held at the Media Center on the eve of the January 18 demonstration against the legislative reform.

“People, let’s take to the streets. We’ll fight together and we’ll succeed together,” called on Artsvik Minasyan, a member of Parliament from Dashnaktsutyun party.

“Obviously, this is a tricky move not only for the current but for future generations as well. These reforms cannot be put into practice in Armenia the way they are represented at the moment,” he added.

Armen Martirosyan, deputy head of Heritage party, one of the four parliamentary factions that have joined their efforts against mandatory pension fund system, also underlined active involvement of civil society in the fight: “I think in case of active participation of our citizens in the struggle until January 25, the Constitutional Court is likely to return a verdict in their favour”.

“If all the layers of the society are disgruntled at the move, then something is wrong in the actions of the authorities. One thing is obvious: in this atmosphere of distrust of the government, the law in its current form cannot be approved,” said Mane Tandilyan, a member of Dem.am, a civil initiative against mandatory pension system.

Vahagn Khachatryan, a member of Armenian National Congress, pointed out that 300,000-500,000 dollars were intended to be allocated for the development of the system since 2011, but the society was not properly informed about the legislative move, while the risks of introducing the system were not carefully calculated. 

“Pension reforms cannot serve as a solution to any economic or political problem. They have adopted an attitude of Kamikaze killers and are stubborn enough to declare, ‘this is our decision, and we are going till the end’,” he added.

Mary Khachatryan, of the Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Centre, also noted that relevant changes had yet to be made in the Labour Code, in order to define new concepts, such as 'self-employed' and others.

“Meanwhile, the executive and legislative bodies ought to have raised the public awareness at the earliest stage of the project implementation,” said Mary Khachatryan.

Vahagn Khachatryan also spoke about the setbacks of compulsory pension fund, adding that the system would lead to the increase of shadow economy.

“I was born after 1974. How can I support my parents with my salary, as well as pay taxes to help the parents of my friends who have already left the country? Is it realistic to place such a burden on the shoulders of taxpayers who work on transparent and legal conditions?” asked Mane Tandilyan.

And Artsvik Minasyan added: “They have artificially increased the threshold: if they subtracted 5 per cent after taxation, the sum would be significantly reduced, and now it is not 5 per cent, but 6, 61 and even more”. 

Summerizing their concerns, the speakers at the discussion event restated their determination to fight against the introduction of the system.

“We are convinced that only this form of campaigning is right. We need a systematic change, and this will be the beginning. The current authorities have run dry everywhere and in everything,” said Vahagn Khachatryan.

On January 16, at 17:00, a discussion, entitled “Pension Reform: Secure or Endangered Old Age” was held on the initiative of the Media Center and was aired on A1+. Artsvik Minasyan, a member of Parliament from Dashnaktsutyun party, Armen Martirosyan, deputy head of Heritage party, Vahagn Khachatryan of the Armenian National Congress, Mary Khachatryan, a lawyer from the Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Centre and Mane Tandilyan, a member of Dem.am civil initiative were the guest speakers of the discussion event. 

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