Kyrgyz Republic Public Expenditure Review Policy Notes : Pensions

Today, the Kyrgyz pension system plays a major role in poverty alleviation of the elderly but this role is diminishing fast due to low coverage of working age population. The system currently provides pensions to more than 90 percent of the population over age 65 thus being a significant buffer against poverty. Over time, though, the poverty reduction effect of the pension system is expected to weaken substantially as the current low coverage rates among the working age population translate into much lower coverage rates of about only 60 percent for the future old age population. As a result, poverty rates among the old-age population will grow and government spending on social pensions will increase dramatically. The structure of this chapter is as follows. The next section provides an overview of the current pension system and the main issues facing it. Section three presents the results of the financial projections for the current system assuming a no-reform scenario and the implications of doing nothing on the finances of the Social Fund, the cost to the government and the expected benefits (baseline projections). Section four considers several broad reform options and their impact with respect to the financial sustainability and affordability of the system as well as adequacy of benefits. Section five outlines the issues remaining beyond the scope of this study which require further analysis. Annex one summarizes the main parameters of the current pension system and annexes two provides a brief description of the main assumptions used in the projections and the projection methodology. The diagnosis of the current system and the evaluation of the reform options presented in this chapter are based on the simulations produced with the World Bank Pension Reform Options Simulation Toolkit (PROST) model.