National Savings Fund to debut Aug 18

National Savings Fund to debut Aug 18

With the launch of the National Savings Fund on Aug 18, daily wage earners for the first time will have some form of safety net. (Photo by Patipat Junthong)
With the launch of the National Savings Fund on Aug 18, daily wage earners for the first time will have some form of safety net. (Photo by Patipat Junthong)

The National Savings Fund, the safety net for some 30 million Thais not covered by state pension funds and private provident funds, will accept its first member on Aug 18.

The lucky person will be personally registered by one of the fund's staunchest supporters, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, said Maj Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, deputy spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office.

The fund will act as a state-run provident fund for some 30 million self-employed workers who are not members of the Government Pension Fund (GPF) or private provident funds.

The government will contribute to the fund at a rate that varies based on a member's savings and age. When he reaches 60, he will receive a monthly pension.

The goal is to provide a safety net for self-employed people and help to slightly narrow the income parity gap. Civil servants are protected by the Government Pension Fund while salaried workers generally are members of the Social Security Office and/or their companies' provident funds.

Self-employed people aged 15-60 may apply for membership at 3,500 branches nationwide of Krungthai Bank, the Government Savings Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, using only their ID cards, Maj Gen Sansern said on Saturday.

"Early and substantial savers will receive high pensions when they grow old. For instance, if one starts saving 1,000 baht a month when he's 20, he'll get a pension and an allowance totalling 7,000 baht a month," he explained.

"If a member starts at 30, he'll get 4,441 baht, and 2,646 baht if he starts at 40."

Eligible members are farmers, vendors, taxi drivers, homemakers, architects, doctors, lawyers, daily wage earners, temporary workers, MPs, local politicians, students and pupils. The only requirement is they are not members of the GPF or other provident funds.

The fund normally accepts members aged 15-60 who will save until they reach 60. But during the first year of launch, the government will allow people aged more than 60 to apply. Those aged 50 or more will also be allowed to save for 10 years or until they reach 65. 

A National Savings Fund member is required to save no less than 50 baht but not more than 13,200 baht a year. Once he contributes to the fund, the government will contribute its part at the end of the following month.

The government contribution rate varies by age. For members aged 15-30, it is 50% of the member's contribution but not more than 600 baht a year.

For those aged 30-50, the rate is 80% but not more than 960 baht a year. It goes up to 100% for members aged 50 or more but not more than 1,200 baht a year.

When a member reaches 60, he will receive a monthly pension. If his savings are low, he will receive a subsistence allowance of 600 baht a month until his account is depleted.

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