"...From the information, it can be seen that the budget allocated by the government to the elderly is approximately 52 billion - 79 billion baht, each year the number of elderly people has increased from 6 million people until now with approximately 12 million elderly people. While from the results of the study on the guidelines for proposing the National Basic Pension Law of the Social Welfare Commission, The House of Representatives, that studied on adjusting the elderly allowance to 3,000 baht/month for about 12 million elderly people found that it would require an initial budget of 4.3 hundred thousand million baht..."
For the upcoming general election of 2023, a campaign on adjusting the elderly allowance would attract more than 12 million elderly people, who account for 19 percent of the country's population. It is one of the campaign policies of many political parties.
The main reason for this policy to be popular and used as a policy to campaign for the election by many political parties, it is inevitable that during the 2022, Thailand has completely stepped into an aged society (Aged Society).
Confirmed by the comments of Dr. Vichai Chokwiwat, President of the Association of the Elderly Council of Thailand under the patronage of HRH Princess Srinagarindra Boromarajonani and the vice chairman of the National Committee for the Elderly (KorPorSor.), in 2022 Thailand has officially stepped into an aged society (Aged Society). The Aged Society is described according to the definition of the United Nations World Population Aging, which is that Thai society will have a population aged 60 years and over living in the area per population of all ages in the same area at a rate of 20 percent. This is the result of a lower birth rate.
The factor of the higher average age of Thai people and the proportion of the elderly is increasing rapidly would create a financial burden both in terms of health care costs and resource allocation. When combined with the current economic situation, it is likely that in the future there will be more intense inflation including poverty after retirement.
“2022 is the year that Thailand has fully entered the Aged Society, that is, about 20% of the total population is over 60 years old which Thailand has been preparing for this matter for a long time. It has been initiated since the World Assembly on Aging in Vienna Austria, 1982. In the same year, we had a 20-year long-term elderly plan which has been continued until now. At this moment, we have almost come to an end of the second long-term elderly plan. The issue of the elderly allowance has been driven since 1991. The allowance was first paid around 1992 to the poor before universal welfare was introduced and then developed over time.
"The elderly issue is something that everyone and every group pays attention to because it is a respected group. For the policy that will focus on the elderly in 2022 as we enter this complete aging society, as a member of the committee that had been driving policies for the elderly, we will continue to encourage the elderly to be social forces as much as possible for sustainable self-reliance and reduce dependency on others. This is a very important principle" said Dr. Vichai Chokwiwat.
While the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDB) has revealed the calculation results from the National Transfer Account (NTA) and it was found that in planning people's finances for spending throughout life in order to be able to take care of children of school age and the elderly and still have some savings for spending after retirement until the age of 90, there must be about 7.7 million baht in savings for taking care of the elderly after retirement which is 3.1 million baht in household expenses. This is a huge amount of money compared to the income of labor in Thailand.
This means that the government needs to be prepared to cope with the increasing expenses for the people's later life. Including the need to urgently solve the problem of wages and minimum income, which is the right that the people should be entitled to.
This information points out that elderly people in Thailand seems to be an important base in the upcoming 2023 election. But the invention of policies by many political parties to attract attention now seems to cause some concerns especially the fiscal burden and sustainability that may occur in the future.
Isara news agency (www.isranews.org) explores and collects policies of political parties campaigning on the elderly allowance or public pension or national pension or adjusting the allowance for the elderly and found the following information.
1. Thai Sang Thai Party is proposing a pension of 3,000 baht
2. Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party is proposing to adjust the elderly allowance to be the same for every age group at 1,000 baht/month
3. Kao Klai Party is proposing to increase the elderly allowance to 3,000 baht in 2027, spending 4.2 hundred billion.
4. Seri Ruam Thai Party is proposing pension for people 3,000 baht/month
5. Thai Civilized Party is proposing senior citizen allowance 5,000 baht/month
6. Palang Pracharat Party is proposing to increase the elderly allowance to continue the civil state welfare policy by specifying guidelines for increasing the living allowance for the elderly in steps from the age of 60 to be 3,000 baht per month, from the age of 70 to be 4,000 baht per month, and from the age of 80 to be 5,000 baht per month which the party uses the campaign 'Increase the allowance for the elderly 3 4 5 and 6 7 8'
7. Sa Mer Pak Party is proposing a draft of the People's Welfare Act to provide care and assistance to people of all vulnerable groups, including children, youth, women, laborers, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the elderly, LGBT people, and all Thai ethnic groups to have a good quality of life and equality according to human rights principles and will encourage children to receive 3,000 baht per month, the elderly receive 3,000 baht per month, the disabled receive 3,000 baht per month, the mother receives 2,000 baht per month.
8. Prachachat Party is proposing to take care of the welfare of the elderly aged 60 years and over by a 3,000 baht pension policy.
9. Democrat Party Proposed to have a policy on elderly allowance, but numbers have not yet been specified.
10. Bhumjaithai Party Propose life insurance fund policy for 60 years or more.
From the information during 2012-2023, it was found that the government allocated budgets for the elderly allowance to the local authorities of Bangkok (Bangkok) and Pattaya as follows:
In 2012, the government allocated a budget of 52,535.42 million baht.
In 2013, the government allocated a budget of 58,374.04 million baht.
In 2014, the government allocated a budget of 60,999.87 million baht.
In 2015, the government allocated a budget of 61,372.10 million baht.
In 2016, the government allocated a budget of 63,219.44 million baht.
In 2017, the government allocated a budget of 64,783.64 million baht.
In 2018, the government allocated a budget of 66,407.36 million baht.
In 2019, the government allocated a budget of 71,911.17 million baht.
In 2020, the government allocated a budget of 76,279.64 million baht.
In 2021, the government allocated a budget of 79,300.15 million baht.
In 2022, the government allocated a budget of 77,096.40 million baht.
In 2023, the government allocated a budget of 71,407.53 million baht.
(Referring to information from odloc.go.th and budget document No. 3, revised expenditure budget according to the Budget Expenditure Act, Fiscal Year 2023 Volume 8)
From the information, it can be seen that the budget allocated by the government to the elderly is approximately 52 billion - 79 billion baht, each year the number of elderly people has increased from 6 million people until now with approximately 12 million elderly people.
While from the results of the study on the guidelines for proposing the National Basic Pension Law of the Social Welfare Commission, The House of Representatives, that studied on adjusting the elderly allowance to 3,000 baht/month for about 12 million elderly people found that it would require an initial budget of 4.3 hundred thousand million baht.
But if it is adjusted to 5,000 baht/month according to the policies of some political parties, it would require a budget of more than 7.2 billion baht per year.
And it looks like a huge amount of money will be used for political party campaign policies on this issue which causes concerns to economics scholars about this matter.
@Dr. Theepakorn Jithitikulchai, faculty of Economics and the Center for Research on Inequality and Social Policy, Thammasat University
Such as the opinion of Dr. Theepakorn Jithitikulchai, faculty of Economics and the Center for Research on Inequality and Social Policy, Thammasat University, who spoke at the forum 'National pension system for fairness and sustainability' on March 23, 2023, that because of the insecurity after retirement, it is necessary to establish a fair and sustainable national pension system as a protection against poverty for the elderly.
Dr. Theepakorn Jithitikulchai also gave an interview to Isara News Agency that the provision of pensions for the elderly is an urgent matter. There is no need to wait any longer because there are many proposals and studies from the Social Welfare Commission, House of Representatives who have studied the preparation of operational guidelines.
“One of the former secretary of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) once spoke at the MSDHS meeting that he had to study on this first. So I told him in the meeting that he didn't have to study but only needs to get it done because this is about the lives of people who want to survive. This is an important matter because it is human life. I think it should be pushed. Simply put, this matter is pending on Prayuth, at the cabinet. This report has been pending since May last year and until now has not been considered by the cabinet. 5-6 drafts were already rejected by the Prayuth cabinet, ”said Dr. Theepakorn.
@Mr. Nimit Thienudom, a representative of the People's Welfare Network
Likewise, Mr. Nimit Thienudom, a representative of the People's Welfare Network, said that he really wanted it to be possible and not just only selling dreams. The issue of the allowance is something that scholars say would hurt the country's financial discipline, causing national debt. The country may not yet have money. But this is the basic necessity of the elderly who don't have money before 'becoming old', so life can be better by becoming a welfare state. The welfare state can arise from the will of the state that wants to provide for the people. If a political party has this policy and has entered the government and has the intention to do it, it should be able to, for example, cut unnecessary budgets or tax adjustments or increase the proportion of the budget to apply to the welfare state.
“It can be done if the government wants to do it. The important point is that political parties that issue policies like this must be sincere to the people. Because the people had a lesson in 2019 when the Palang Pracharat Party had a policy on this matter, also the Democratic Party and Seri Ruam Thai and many political parties spoke campaigned about it but did nothing. If a political party sees this as an important matter and is really necessary for the benefit of the people, it must come out and announce it and then had to explain that it was necessary to do this, how to do it, how it would be done, and ensure that they are serious about this matter, ”said Nimit.
@Dr. Nonarit Bisonyabut, senior academic at Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI)
While Dr. Nonarit Bisonyabut, senior academic at Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), said that when asked if this kind of policy could be done or not, the answer was that it could be done because the government sector could borrow continuously, and the limit could be increased. If we assume that we must pay 3,000 baht to the current elderly of 12 million people, it is equivalent to having to pay 36,000 million per month. But if the next 5-10 years pass, the elderly will increase to 20 million people, so 20 million elderly people receive 3,000 baht per month from the state, it will be 60,000 million baht per month, it will be 7.2 hundred thousand million baht per year. If you can borrow if needed and you must keep increasing the credit limit. However, there will be a fiscal burden. When asked what these political parties would do then, they would not tell you what method is to be used but would keep borrowing continuously. The disadvantage is that the state will be in a lot of debt and will not be able to borrow money for other things.
“When you spend money on one thing, you lose the opportunity to do something else. For example, you might not be able to use the money to develop infrastructure. Most of them will affect the economic growth rate, and then it will get worse. This is the idea of someone who does not make but only use the money.
“Another group would try to collect taxes from the rich. This method, in my opinion, was a good way. Because some rich people are given more privileges. Some come from the exploitation of wages. Therefore, collecting from the rich to help the poor is the path that should be taken, especially the land tax. This will help reduce the problem of borrowing. Another way is to increase the value added tax (VAT) because we have to help the poor and provide the elderly welfare. This method is similar to the method of taxing the rich. Therefore, the poor will receive subsidies. What is proposed is not saving and putting money in the central but putting the money into universal welfare or senior citizen allowance. These methods will help reduce the issue of borrowing money.
Dr. Nonarit further said that whether this should be done or not, we must first understand that 3,000 baht comes from the idea that it is the number for the elderly who did not prepare for themselves would at least need to be able to survive. The answer is approximately 3,000 baht per month.
“The question is, if we use this kind of policy, will it be appropriate for everyone or not, for example, to have the people aged 60 prepare themselves would not be possible but for the 55-year-olds, we now have 5 years to prepare them to enter the aging society or people aged 50 would have 10 years. Why don't we try to come up with a system that is co-pay for this group of people to start preparing? so that there will be no fiscal burden.”
"So in terms of propriety, we should help people who can't help themselves, such as 60-year-olds, etc. But for the next 5 years, can you gradually put down the amount? Don't give 3,000 forever, otherwise it will signal that people don't have to prepare. towards entering an aging society"
“We're 50, 45, 40 and we don't have to do anything ? Therefore, it should be split into two groups, namely the group that we will help with 3,000 baht. But the group in the future should change to the co-pay system to create a welfare system that is better shared by the co-pay system, which is the system that involves both government and private contributions. When you retire, you will have enough money. You must save as well and must not wait for the state to give away 3,000 alone but start saving now. At least 5%-10% must be compulsory savings,” said Dr. Nonarit.
These are observations and concerns regarding the pension policy or the elderly premium of many political parties which is being used as an election campaign tool now. As for increasing allowance or having a national pension, will some or all of it be possible?
Annotation: This report was published on 30th March 2023 in Thai Version.
สำรวจนโยบาย 'บำนาญแห่งชาติ-เพิ่มเบี้ยผู้สูงอายุ' สู้ศึกเลือกตั้ง-เสี่ยงภาระการคลัง?
#กดคลิก ติดตาม ส่งแชร์ข่าวอิศรา ได้ที่นี่ https://www.facebook.com/isranewsfanpage