SSO lending to members just 'suggestion'

SSO lending to members just 'suggestion'

Spokeswoman says PM Prayut only wanted Social Security Fund to consider the idea

A man shows off a sign saying the SSO safety net is now extended to cover independent workers such as taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers last year. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A man shows off a sign saying the SSO safety net is now extended to cover independent workers such as taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers last year. (Bangkok Post file photo)

A letter from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking the Social Security Office to consider lending to Social Security Fund members was merely a suggestion, the government says.

Government spokeswoman Narumol Pinyosinwat said on Saturday that the prime minister only wanted the fund to weigh the possibility.

"If there are legal problems, the SSO should do what's best for its members and people," she said.

She was respionding to criticism that the fund, the only nest egg for many people after retirement, should not be used for the purpose after Gen Prayut reportedly sent a letter to the SSO asking it to consider the move.

In any case, the 1990 Social Security Fund Act does not allow the SSO, which manages the fund, to lend directly to its members because it's not in line with its objective of paying the insured. Besides, the SSO is not a financial institution that can lend money to the public under Bank of Thailand rules.

However, the fund may lend through financial institutions allowed to set up social investment projects by depositing its money with them.

According to data on its website, the fund had 2 trillion baht as of Sept 30 this year, 79% of which was invested in low-risk securities and 21% in higher-risk securities. The accumulated return since its inception in 1991 was 646.2 billion baht.

The coverage is divided into seven types: sickness, maternity, disability, death, child allowance, old age and unemployment.

The insured — all employees aged 15-60 in the system — and their employers each contribute 5% of the base salaries ranging from 1,650 to 15,000 baht a month while the government contributes 2.75%. As of mid-October last year, the government still owed the fund 56 billion baht.


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