by Marianna Mkrtchyan
The U.S. welcomes the Armenian Government's efforts towards formation of the new pension system, the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern said at the opening of the Third Annual Pension Forum on Friday.
The Ambassador stressed the significance of the pension reform in the country. He pointed out that Armenia should find the way to ensure the pensioners' well-being. He thinks the pension system must undergo changes because the employment structure has changed. The pension reform will allow employed people to form their own future pension benefits.
Ambassador Heffern thinks that the new pension system will secure equivalent pension benefits for the pensioners, remove shadow salaries, improve tax administration, reduce corruption risks and give a fresh impetus to economic development.
He added that the U.S. Government will continue supporting Armenia's efforts. He stressed the need to raise public awareness to achieve positive results. The Government of Armenia should explain the ongoing pension reforms to the civil society and the mass media. Future pensioners must know how their future pensions are formed, he said.
The compulsory accumulative pension system in Armenia came into effect on 1 Jan 2014. The pension reform sparked mass protests in Armenia. Four opposition parliamentary groups have applied to the Constitutional Court to consider the compliance of the pension reform with the Constitution. The Constitutional Court will deliver the verdict on 28 March 2014.