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Burma’s pensioners happy with pension raises

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Within 100 days after the new Burmese government took office, pensions for retired government employees were increased, fulfiling a pledge made by President Thein Sein.

A group of pensioners at a government pension office in Rangoon look for information about  their new pension rates on Friday, June 30, 2011, after the government announced that pensions have been increased starting in July. Photo: MizzimaDr. Htun Lwin, the retired director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, said: “My senior officials who retired before I reached my retirement age have received small pensions which are tiny compared to today’s prices. They dedicated themselves to our department. The increase in pension rates is very appropriate.”
Since the military coup in September 1988, the salaries of government employees were increased in 1989, 1993, 2000, 2006 and 2010, when the salaries of government employees were increased by 20,000 kyat (about US$ 25) but pensions were not increased.
“My salary was 350 kyat (US$ 0.42). I served in the army for 23 years and retired as a sergeant in 1986. After 1990, my pension was not enough to live on, so I had to do whatever work that came,” a retired sergeant, 67, told Mizzima.
A headmistress who retired in 2005 because of her health said, “My salary was 7,500 kyat, so my pension was just 2,000 kyat. It was not enough to pay for my child’s tuition fees. I’m happy with any increase.”
In response to a Mizzima question, the Directorate of Pensions in Rangoon said that if a pensioner wanted to know their new pension amount, they should  contact the relevant department and fill out a form, and the Directorate of Pension would calculate the new amount.
In Burma, a government employee who worked for 30 years can receive a retirement pension; a government employee who worked until 60 years of age can receive an old age pension; and a government employee who can prove that they are in poor health can receive a medical pension.
Economist Khin Maung Nyo said that although the increment of pensions would benefit the pensioners, the new amount was not enough for them to make any financial savings.

Last Updated ( Monday, 04 July 2011 18:16 )  

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