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Thailand must be ready for fast-ageing populace: Fiscal Policy Office


Thailand spent 750 billion baht or 4.43 per cent of the GDP on looking after seniors last year compared to just 430 billion baht in 2013, the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) reported recently.

FPO director Pornchai Teerawet said this is a sign that Thailand is fast turning into an ageing society.

As of 2021, 19 per cent or 12.5 million of Thailand’s 66.7 million population were above the age of 60. This year, more than 20 per cent of the population is expected to cross the 60 mark and by 2033, this number is expected to rise beyond 28 per cent.

With the number of working-age people falling, the government’s revenue from tax will also drop significantly, while the expense of taking care of elderly people will rise, Pornchai said.

He added that soon the government will end up spending up to 1 trillion baht on welfare and pensions.

Hence, he said, to ensure the elderly do not become a financial burden on the state, the government should introduce measures such as:

  • Creating a savings and senior social security system so people have enough funds after retiring.
  • Revolutionising the labour market to compensate for fewer workers by allowing seniors to continue working.
  • Boosting efficiency in tax collection and expanding the tax base both directly and indirectly.

He said the government should also support voluntary savings via Retirement Mutual Fund (RMF), Super Savings Fund (SSF) and pension life insurance.

Pornchai also put the rising costs down to inefficiency. He said there is no single agency that is responsible for setting an overall policy or building a central database for the pension system.

Hence, he said, the FPO is pushing for the establishment of a national committee that will set a policy for the pension scheme and coordinate with saving funds. It will also create a central database of pensioners to ensure efficiency.

The Cabinet approved the setting up of this agency last year and the Council of State is currently examining the draft law.

Published : April 16, 2022

By : THE NATION