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Pension System Covers Only 15% of Population

Only 15 percent of the Chinese population, totaling 1.3 billion, is covered by the country's five-year-old pension system, the country's top pension fund official said Wednesday.

Addressing the 2005 Asian Pension Fund Roundtable, Xiang Huaicheng, chairman of China's National Council for Social Security Fund, said the percentage is lower than the minimum standard of 20 percent set by the International Labor Organization.

He said China's first-layer pension fund system covers 12 percent of the country's population, mainly employees of various ownership.

The total asset of the National Social Security Fund, which was set up five years ago as a reserve for pensioners, was 192.1 billion yuan (US$23.7 billion) by the end of October, 2005.

Xiang said only 55 percent of urban employee are covered by the country's pension system and the majority of the country's rural population have no access to the system.

China is considering moves to offer pension in the coming yearsto rural people who lost their farmland to industrial development and construction projects, and migrant workers in rural areas. said Xiang.

He said about 40 million farmers have lost their farmland.

China is also considering policies to deal with the ageing population in the coming years through increased fiscal spending and other channels.

(Xinhua News Agency November 10, 2005)

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