Fewer people are paying in so the pension age is going up.
The Kyrgyz government is hoping to cut expenditure by hoarding pension funds. So far, its tactic of raising the retirement age has met with remarkably little opposition.
The latest plan is to increase the retirement age for two special categories. For residents of mountainous areas, the increase is three years – from 55 to 58 for men and from 50 to 53 for women. For people classed as living in remote areas, it rises by one year, to 61 for men and 56 for women.
There is been little fuss about this because it is seen as bringing these categories into line with changes that have affected the rest of the population. The statutory retirement age, once 60 for men and 55 for women, was increased to 63 and 58, respectively, over a number of years ending in 2007.
Nurbek Kaysarbaev, spokesman for the national Welfare Fund told IWPR that savings were essential to balance the books.
Zamira Shabdanalieva is head of the Pensioners’ Party, and she too supports the increase on the grounds that fewer people are in employment and contributing to the national pension pot. Others point out that urban workers pay much more in contributions than rural-dwellers, yet everyone receives the same pension.
Iskender Aliev is an IWPR contributor in Kyrgyzstan.
This audio programme went out in Russian and Kyrgyz on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan. It was produced under two IWPR projects, Investigative Journalism to Promote Democratic Reform, funded by the European Union; and Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EU or the Norwegian government.