Finally President Sebastián Piñera played his cards and this Monday announced from Europe – where he is on tour – a new bill to improve pensions, which basically implies a short law, and that in part of the opposition was interpreted as an attempt to stop the fourth withdrawal of pension funds that is processed in the Chamber of Deputies.
This initiative announced by the Government seeks to increase the basic solidarity pension to $177 thousand, while expanding the Solidarity Pillar from 60% to the most vulnerable 80%. In addition, it proposes to establish that the social security contribution and the disability and survival insurance of unemployed people are covered by the unemployment insurance.
From the ranks of the opposition they accuse that this project aims to stop the fourth withdrawal, but from the Government they propose it like this: “It seems relevant to us to be able to explain that it is an increase in pensions directly to the vein (…) The withdrawals are in the opposite situation, I think the time has come for us to take responsibility on this issue,” Finance Minister Rodrigo Cerda said this morning on Radio Duna.
Also, faced with questions from the opposition, the minister of the General Secretariat of the Presidency (Segpress), Juan José Ossa came out to defend the project. “I want to demystify that this short law seeks to stop the fourth withdrawal. Are we about to increase pensions, yes or no?” asked the head of the Segpres.
Also in defense of this short law was added the Undersecretary of Finance, Alejandro Weber, who said on Radio Infinita that “if this contributes to anything, it is to help make better decisions around pensioners. This reform does not imply an impact in 10 years, this helps to benefit people today.”
On the contrary, Weber said that those who “propose the fourth withdrawal have to be honest and say that this only makes sense to destroy the capitalization system, or has electoral purposes.”
As for the processing, and asked if this discussion slows down an eventual fourth withdrawal, the economic authority indicated that “we do not know what is going to happen. What is a fact is that we are on the margins for definition. We know that some want to destroy pensions, while others want to make progress in protecting them.” Anyway, he admitted that the government’s announcement could have an impact, and “surely some parliamentarians are going to see this with very good eyes.”
The answer from RN
Despite the confidence of the Government, three RN deputies announced their vote in favor of the fourth retirement project, thus joining the deputy for Antofagasta Paulina Núñez. These are Jorge Durán, Eduardo Duran and Frank Sauerbaum, who ignored the calls of the Executive and the command of presidential candidate Sebastián Sichel, who has led a crusade to try to align the official votes against the project.
“After a thoughtful process after listening to the different opinions of experts (…). I have made myself certain that this proposal for the fourth retreat is necessary especially in the different people that I represent,” said Eduardo Durán, adding that “I regret that the presidential candidate and his command have taken such an intolerant attitude.”
In the same vein, Jorge Durán stated that “I rebel against these threats and I will assume all the costs that this implies and I want to announce that I will vote in favor of the fourth withdrawal assuming all the costs and threat of which we have been victims.”
The bill is already being processed in particular in the Constitution Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, but it was not put on the table for Thursday’s session, as had originally been reported.
Criticism of opposition presidential candidates
The project announced by the president was also viewed with critical eyes by opposition presidential candidates. For DC Senator Yasna Provoste, the Government “once again arrives late and does it badly”, because it is only about “improving the basic solidarity pension, “what we told her more than a year ago”. It is not a pension reform project because it leaves intact the failed AFP model,” he said.
Meanwhile, the candidate of Apruebo Dignidad, Gabriel Boric questioned the government’s project, pointing out that “being 167 or 177 thousand pesos is still insufficient to live in Chile, therefore, the proposal that we have is to increase the coverage of the basic solidarity pension to 95 percent of the populationlación and that it reaches a cushion of 250 thousand pesos so that, on that, with the contributory pillar we can have decent pensions for all Chileans.”
“Our model is without AFP, we believe that the AFP is a negotiated that is not up to the pensions that Chileans deserve and there we have a difference with the current Government, beyond that increasing the solidarity pension, we believe, that it goes in the right direction,” he added, insisting that as FA they will present indications to the fourth retirement project so that the highest incomes pay taxes.