Asen Vassilev PHOTO: Velislav Nikolov
There is no need to worry about the stability of the pension system, assured the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vassilev
With 140 votes in favor, one against (from GERB) and 83 abstentions, the parliament adopted at first reading the budget of the Social Security. The passage of the ruling party’s proposals was ensured by the votes of all BSP deputies and the independents, ITN, DB and Promyana. MRF and GERB abstained, despite their statements that they support raising pensions.
In 6 months we have increased the pensions as much as for 3 GERB governments, summed up Iskren Arabadjiev from “The Change” at the beginning of the debates on the social security budget. The PPs have set themselves the goal of preventing social assistance from being provided through the pension system, and the current government must correct the imbalances found by their predecessors.
We are facing a test of parliamentarism, with the support or rejection of this and other budgets we will find out who works for the interests of Bulgarian citizens, said Arabadjiev. He added that for many years GERB boasted about reducing the NSSI deficit, but this was at the expense of pensioners and the lack of indexation of pensions.
Iliana Zhekova from GERB countered that in this form the budget put at risk the future functioning of the pension system. “A 3-year financial forecast is not provided for the state to see where these funds will be provided. It is not clear what pension policies you will pursue by ensuring financial sustainability,” she said. In response, Georgi Svilenski of the BSP asked her why she did not defend fair pensions while GERB ruled. “The money will come from increased collection, stopped thefts and empty drawers. There is money,” he said. He reminded that the COVID supplement of BGN 50 was introduced by GERB, which now sets BGN 60. for the unjust. You have introduced this injustice, he said. Svilenski accused GEERB of failing to provide adequate income to the elderly and keeping them on a pension of BGN 300 for 13 years, which would have been lower without the intervention of the Patriots.
“We are a long way from total expenditure on pensions as total expenditure relative to GDP. We set aside a little over 10% of everything made, Europeans – 14. We fit in the budget, and there is room for additional funds. The same applies to next year and more. There is no need to worry about the stability of the pension system “, assured the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vassilev.
Hassan Ademov from the MRF criticized the government for promising to prepare a full analysis of the pension system in 6 months and to propose a comprehensive plan for pension reform. We don’t see one, he said. And he attacks the government for mixing the pension system with social assistance. “You did not support the business in time for the increase in energy. This short-sighted policy has led to a shock increase in prices and shock inflation,” he added, citing some of GERB’s arguments.
Lyubomir Karimanski of the ITN has been attacking his former coalition partners for promising a model for setting the maximum insurance income. The promised working group never met on the issue, he said, forecasting lower budget revenues due to expectations of lower-than-expected economic growth. According to him, this puts pressure on the budget due to the increase in pension costs.
Shortly before the final vote on the Social Security budget, Social Affairs Minister Georgi Gokov said that most MPs wanted to support the increase in pensions, but would not do so because they were members of a political party. He also noted that the pension system is severely damaged and its modernization has been delayed for a long time. According to him, however, the increase in the deficit in the social security budget is not a tragedy and is not something that has not happened. He added that they are trying to correct the distortion that has been allowed in recent years in pensions, one of which is the drastic difference between the amount of newly granted pensions and the old ones. According to him, with the proposed project, 200,000 pensioners will receive higher than the minimum pension they currently receive, and 30,000 will benefit from the removal of the ceiling. Gokov complained that he was more inclined to hear criticism from former participants in the government and reminded that the incomes of pensioners with the proposed changes will rise by an average of 33%.