Meeting to discuss social security matters

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Pensions and social benefits should be paid timely and in full, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a government meeting to discuss social security matters on 24 July.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that today there are more than 2.5 million pensioners in the country. 646,000 of them still work. "But the rest live on a pension. We are obliged to pay pensions to these people promptly and in full," said the head of state.

The President drew attention to the fact that this year the wage growth has been low because it is tightly linked to the productivity growth. "But these are the laws of economics. There is no escape from them. No country fools with these issues, especially in difficult times. If wages are not high, this means pensions will be not high either as the latter is tied to wages," he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko considers it inadmissible to dismiss the retired employees who are able and are willing to work for longer.

"Mass media often make reports about the position of some business leaders and approaches that allow dismissing the people in retirement age. They say the situation is not easy now. This should not be allowed! If a person wants to work, if he can work, let him. Otherwise our slogan of the social state will remain just a slogan,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

"We need to be humane. But if some business managers do not understand this they should be fired, and when they stay out of work for a long time, we will see what they will be preaching. I urge you against a formal approach to implementing my instructions," the President stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention of the government officials that they should always remember about the needs of pensioners and other vulnerable sections of the population. "And it is not about the elections," said the head of state.

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked the government to brief him on the formation of the social security fund and payment of pensions and social benefits in the country. In his words, many acute problems in the economy and, first of all, those facing the big companies have been already considered in detail. One of the priority goals for such companies is to preserve labor collectives and provide wage payment in time.

The head of state also spoke on the pension age issue, stressing that it will be not raised in Belarus.

“You know my opinion on the issue. We told people that with certain retirement age we will have a certain amount of the pension fund that will be divided between all pensioners,” the head of state said.

“This issue is not on the agenda today,” the President added. In his words, the number of working people who make social contributions from their salaries decreases every year. “People know the situation. There is no need to pitch this idea relentlessly,” the head of state added.

According to Minister of Labor and Social Security Marianna Shchetkina, 2.57 million of retirees receive pensions in the country today. According to her, pensions are paid from the 5th to 26th day of each month. The average old-age pension makes Br2.749 million. In accordance with the national security concept the ratio of the average old-age pension and average wages in the country, the so-called replacement rate, should not be lower than 40%. According to Marianna Shchetkina, this is an international good practice and the Belarusian state has always honored this obligation. Thus, in January-May this ratio was a little higher than 43%. The minister stressed that this ratio will maintained at the end of the year as well.

The head of state was reported that the state honors the obligations it undertakes.

Monthly payments make up Br7.4 trillion. Payments are made on time.

Lukashenko urges to find ways to increase pensions by 5% from 1 September. This task will be fulfilled, the minister said.