The Ministry of Labour is getting ready to combat the standing problem of delayed pension payments, according to Constantinos Stavrakis who heads the Social Insurance Department.
Addressing the House Standing Committee on Institutions yesterday, he admitted that the procedure of pensions is problematic and that measures are taken to solve short and medium-term problems. To start with, a timetable has been set for reducing delays from six to three months, he said.
He also assured that efforts are ongoing for the relevant mechanisms to be implemented so as to improve the service and to better inform pensioners on both their rights and obligations.
At the same time, MPs called on the state to pay back a €7.5 billion loan to the Social Insurance Fund. But Finance Ministry representative Elias Mallis said that any repayment would raise public debt which is expected to fall to around 80% of GDP by 2020.
Mallis also said that the Fund is viable and the amount of €7.5 billion acts as a pillow, to be used if and when necessary. As for the Fund’s investment policy, he said that legislation must change. And that investment plans from future hydrocarbons profits include the Social Security Fund.
The parliamentary committee’s members gave six months to the state to improve Social Insurance Service procedures. In addition, committee chairman Zacharias Zachariou, a ruling Disy MP, said that not only income-receiving departments but also payment departments should get modernised.