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    EXPERT: DEMOGRAPHIC PLIGHT SHOULD BE OVERCOME BY HEIGHTENING RETIREMENT AGE LIMIT

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 6-( RIA Novosti) - In an interview to RIA Novosti, well-known Russian economist Yevgeny Yasin said that he sees the only remedy to the current demographic plight in increasing the retirement age. "If we don't do this now, Russia will fail in twenty years to support its pensioners," he said.

    "We are in no position to resolve our demographic problem and the next 40-50 years Russia is certain to be marked by depopulation. There are now 72 pensioners per 100 working people while in twenty years, with the preservation of the current retirement age, there will be 85 pensioners per 100 working people. The national economy is not able to bear such a proportion," said Yasin. He compared these figures to those in Great Britain where the ratio of the pensioners and workmen is 40 to 100. "The only way out is for able-bodied people to start accumulating their pensions. That is the essence of the pension reform," noted the economist. He specified that the pension reform should also provide for citizens who are no longer capable of investing their pensions.

    For the pension reform to gain momentum, it is necessary to raise the retirement age to 60 years for women and to 65 years for men, claimed Yasin. "We can't work longer as our country is known for a rather low life span." He said that Russia shows the world's lowest retirement age: 55 years for women and 60 for men.

    The government is now busy preparing recommendations on a pension reform. It will be suggested that citizens above 35 years of age should voluntarily transfer on their future pension accounts four percent of their salaries for investing this money into non-state pension funds.

    In order to encourage such a voluntary choice, the government promises to build up these four percent with another two, but not less that 2,000 roubles a year. However, this mechanism of subsidies will be accessible only to those who will keep working on reaching the retirement age.

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