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Basic Pension Raised for Retired Workers

China has begun to raise the basic pensions for the elderly who registered for retirement from enterprises according to the state's stipulation before the end of last year, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security said Thursday.

Qualified enterprise retirees began to receive higher pensions on July 1. The increase is about 45 percent of the rise in last year's average salary of local employees, said Hu Xiaoyi, the ministry's spokesman, at a seasonal press conference.

According to ministry statistics, at the end of this September China had 160.62 million people covered by old-age insurance, 5.56 million more than that at the end of last year.

The national enterprise old-age insurance fund had raked in 256. 6 billion yuan (US$31 billion) in the first nine months of this year, rising 18.4 percent year-on-year. The fund paid out 221. 6 billion yuan (US$27 billion), up 10.5 percent.

Hu said that the insurance network took in most this year from state-owned land reclamation businesses, which played a key role in ensuring the sound payment of old-age insurance and in promoting social stability.

Also, the central government increased special capital to supplement those businesses with financial difficulties in paying the national fund, he said.

At the end of September, China had 36.2 million retirees from enterprises.

Hu said that the ministry would try to expand the coverage of old-age insurance to more employees from private companies, self- employed people and those with no fixed jobs. It will also explore to reform the old-age insurance system of government departments and government-sponsored institutions.

(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2004)

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