Implementing pension plan for all

A daunting challenge indeed

A pension plan for all private sector jobholders will be implemented within the next three years. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal will present an outline for universal pension policy in the upcoming national budget, elaborating how the policy can be implemented and who will be under the purview of the policy. However, the policy is yet to be approved by the government. According to economists, implementing the policy would be a difficult job considering the socio-economic context of our country. 

Currently, only five percent of the country’s total employees enjoy pension facility. A total of 3.5 million elderly poor people, in addition to government pensioners, are getting old-age allowance of Tk 400 per month. This number represents only a quarter of the total elderly population. 

As more and more children are starting to live apart from their parents, the reality for many elderly citizens is that they now have to bear their own expenses. Many are relegated to old homes or abandoned all together, and many do not have any kind of savings or retirement plans. 

Furthermore, simply covering the private sector would not be enough. There are a large number of people employed in the informal sector. Those working in the informal economy include wage laborers, self-employed persons, unpaid family labor, piece-rate workers, and other hired labor. Implementing a pension plan for them is therefore likely to be a big challenge for the government. 

Other neglected persons are those who are unemployed either voluntarily or due to lack of employment opportunities. Housewives fall under this category, as well as various skilled and unskilled unemployed people in the country. The government must keep the vulnerable segments of society in mind when enforcing pension plans and providing financial support, including unemployment benefits to those who need it the most.