EFKA can’t make pen­sion tar­get

Leaked doc­u­ment re­veals fund’s in­abil­ity to is­sue all 150,000 pend­ing ben­e­fits be­fore Oc­to­ber dead­line

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY ROULA SALOUROU

An in­ter­nal doc­u­ment by the di­rec­tor of the Sin­gle So­cial Se­cu­rity En­tity (EFKA), Thana­sis Bakalexis, which was leaked to the Greek press yes­ter­day, re­vealed that the new fund is un­able to is­sue all 150,000 pend­ing pen­sions by Oc­to­ber, which it must do in or­der for the en­tity to re­ceive the 869 mil­lion eu­ros from the pro­gram for the pay­ment of the state’s ex­pired debts, as agreed with the coun­try’s cred­i­tors.

In his let­ter to the fund’s de­part­ment heads, dated March 24, Bakalexis ad­mits there is no plan for the pro­cess­ing of all those pen­sions and the tar­get can­not be met. He goes on to ask the seven heads of the de­part­ments to in­form him whether they them­selves have a plan for the timely cal­cu­la­tion of the 150,000 pen­sions and, if so, to in­form the ad­min­is­tra­tion of EFKA in or­der to se­cure the nec­es­sary ad­min­is­tra­tive sup­port.

The first of­fi­cial re­sponse to the rev­e­la­tion came from the La­bor and So­cial Se­cu­rity Min­istry, which rushed to an­nounce that in the year to date more than 40,000 new pen­sions have been is­sued and paid out. It added that by mid-April some 3,500 re­tire­ment lump sums will have been pro­cessed and paid. Ac­cord­ing to the min­istry, “the clear­ing of all pend­ing pen­sion ap­pli­ca­tions by Oc­to­ber 2017 con­sti­tutes a fully at­tain­able tar­get.”

EFKA then stated that the leaked doc­u­ment con­sti­tutes proof of good ad­min­is­tra­tion, and as­sured that the tar­get for the pro­cess­ing of all out­stand­ing pen­sions by Oc­to­ber will be achieved.

The news elicited a strong re­sponse from New Democ­racy’s shadow la­bor min­is­ter Yian­nis Vrout­sis, who told Skai TV it is a shame for the gov­ern­ment and warned in a state­ment that there is no way so many pen­sions can be pro­cessed by Octo- 1.0737 ber. He added that the prob­lem is due to the gov­ern­ment’s in­abil­ity to man­age the is­sue and un­der­scored that the op­po­si­tion had warned the gov­ern­ment about this pos­si­bil­ity.

Out of those 150,000 pen­sions, 50,000-55,000 should be cal­cu­lated ac­cord­ing to the new law brought in by for­mer min­is­ter Gior­gos Ka­trouga­los, while the ap­pli­ca­tions for the other 95,000 were sub­mit­ted be­fore May 2016 – some have been pend­ing for up to three years.

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