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Central bank pans pension changes

LABOUR Minister Viera Tomanová's attempt at pension reform has been criticised by the National Bank of Slovakia (NBS).

The bank called the reforms short-sighted, saying the proposal only includes cosmetic changes over the next several years, the Sme daily reported on July 31.

The attempt to overhaul the old-age pension scheme, which was reformed completely by the previous government of Mikuláš Dzurinda, is on shaky ground. All of the fundamental proposals have been opposed by other ministries, the central bank and the Supreme Court.

State institutions have criticised the plan to cancel the income ceiling used to calculate old-age insurance premiums, which means people with higher salaries would pay higher premiums, but not receive higher pensions.

Tomanová is also proposing that the state stop paying insurance contributions to pension accounts in the second pillar of the pension plan (private pensions, known as the "capitalisation pillar") for certain groups, including mothers on maternity leave. Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said the ministry should not discriminate against women.

The central bank says the Labour Ministry has not considered where it would get the money for pensions in the future, when there will be fewer working people compared to pensioners than there are now.

Tomanová's proposals also include offering a six-month window for people to leave the second pillar, and banning working pensioners from receiving pensions along with their salaries.

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