Hong Kong’s public annuity plan: who will benefit, the elderly or the insurance firms?
I refer to your editorial of July 13, “Schemes for elderly must help the poor” and the letters from I.M. Wright (“Annuity return for the elderly is far too small”) and Patrick Mak (“Aged deserve to be treated with more generosity”).
I concur, and our highly paid civil servants apparently do not understand what it means to live in poverty. Our bureaucrats continue to develop financial retirement schemes that are not targeted at the people that most need them – the poor.
Our officials never seem to stand in the shoes of the man in the street, but appear concerned to link hands with vested interests. This was the case with the Mandatory Provident Fund, where the prime purpose was to develop the financial services industry rather than to create an effective retirement fund for the general population.
The new HKMC Annuity Plan – which actually is a hybrid annuity and life insurance scheme – gives the impression that private insurance companies will benefit by servicing the government scheme.
When will the government come up with a simple, straightforward universal pension fund for all citizens rather than offering schemes that are too complex for most working people to comprehend? These “too clever” schemes just deflect focus away from the real issue of safeguarding the welfare of the community.
Our government is ever willing to liberally spend billions of dollars funding uneconomic infrastructure projects, but when it comes to the welfare of the people who made Hong Kong, our officials become ultra-conservative. Pensions are recycled into the real economy a million times faster than any economic effect of bridges to nowhere.
Christian Rogers, Wan Chai