Pension for all: Bill passed in parliament

All Bangladeshis aged 18-50 years can participate in this universal pension scheme

The Universal Pension Management Bill, 2023 was passed in the National Parliament on Tuesday to bring all the adult citizens of the country under the pension system.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal took up the bill in Parliament which was passed by voice vote.

According to the bill, all Bangladeshi citizens from the age of 18-50 years can participate in the universal pension based on the national identity card.

Provision has been made to bring people above 50 years under special consideration in the pension scheme.

Bangladeshi expatriates working abroad can also participate in it.

The rate of this contribution has not yet been determined. It will be determined by the concerned authority after the law is passed. Subscriptions can be made on a monthly or quarterly basis and there is an option to subscribe in advance and in instalments as well.

According to the draft law, the contributor will get monthly pension if he contributes continuously for at least 10 years. The pension will be paid against the accumulated profits in the pension fund on the completion of 60 years of the contributor's age. A pensioner will get pension benefits for life.

Participation in this pension scheme will be optional until the government gazettes make it mandatory.

According to the bill, if a person dies before attaining the age of 75 years while on pension, the nominee will be entitled to a monthly pension for the remaining period (up to the age of 75 years of the original pensioner). If the subscriber dies at least 10 years before the subscription is made, the deposited money will be returned to the nominee along with the profit.

If the amount deposited in the pension fund needs to be withdrawn at any stage, the subscriber can withdraw a maximum of 50% of the deposited amount as a loan if he applies which has to be paid along with the fee.

According to the bill, the government can give a portion of the monthly contribution to the pension fund as a grant to citizens below the minimum income limit or in case of indigent contributors.

The bill allows government, semi-government, autonomous or private organizations to participate in the public pension system. In this case, the authorities will determine the share of contribution of workers and organizations. 

However, the persons working in government and semi-government or autonomous organizations will remain out of the ambit of this pension scheme until the government decides.

According to the proposed law, there will be a five-member national pension authority headed by a chairman and also a 15-member governing body with the finance minister as its chair.

The government will appoint the chairman and the other four members of the national pension authority. 

The bill provides for the formation of a 16-member Board of Directors. The finance minister will be the chairman of the governing body where the other members will be the Bangladesh Bank governor, finance secretary, financial institutions division secretary, NBR chairman, social welfare secretary, secretary of woman and child affairs ministry, expatriate welfare and overseas employment secretary, labour and employment secretary, post and telecommunication division secretary, PMO secretary, BSEC chairman, FBCCI president, Bangladesh Employers Federation president, BWCCI president and the executive chairman.

The governing body will hold at least three meetings each year.

The main office of the authority will be in Dhaka and its branches can be established in any place of the country taking prior permission.