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12% of Rural Laborers Covered by Old-age Pension
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Of China's almost 500 million rural laborers 12 percent were participating in the old-age pension system by the end of 2005, said a senior official with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS).

Liu Conglong, Vice Director of the Department of Rural Social Insurance of the MLSS, said the accumulated fund of China's rural social insurance was 31 billion yuan (US$3.97 billion).

Annual pensions were paid to 3.01 million rural laborers last year and this accounted for a total of 3.1 billion yuan, said Liu.

Central government had not contributed a penny to rural old-age social insurance since China launched its rural pension schemes in 1991, Liu added.

In contrast the urban pension system could get an annual contribution of more than 50 billion yuan from the central government, observed Liu.

Moreover, he said no efficient financial products were available for rural social insurance funds to maintain and increase their value as no preferential interest existed for savings and no special treasury bond types for rural insurance funds.

The government has established a basic old-age insurance system with a combination of social pooling and individual accounts covering both the urban and rural areas of the country.

(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2006)

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