Civic groups seek elderly pensions boost with legislation

Civic groups seek elderly pensions boost with legislation

Civil groups are urging lawmakers to speed up passing the Elderly and National Pension Act.

The Thailand Consumer Council (TCC) recently backed the We Fair Network in submitting a petition signed by 10,000 people demanding the bill to be vetted in parliament.

Saree Aungsomwang, secretary-general of the TCC, said the elderly need the bill because it will help improve their quality of life.

Highlights include boosting the elderly monthly allowance, from 600 baht to 1,000 baht now and 3,000 baht later. It would also create an Elderly and National Basic Pension Fund to help create jobs for retirees.

"A monthly allowance of 600 baht is not sufficient to live on. We want the government to look at the issue and support the pension bill as it will help improve old people's lives," she said.

Nitirat Subsomboon, director of We Fair Network, a social justice advocacy group, said the Pheu Thai-led government has many economic stimulus schemes that it wants to introduce but does not yet have a policy to stimulate the economy by providing pensions for the elderly.

"A universal pension scheme will help the elderly feel secure about their future and give them enough money to spend, which will help stimulate the economy in the end," said Mr Nitirat.

The group will wait until parliament reconvenes on Dec 12 to submit the petition around Dec 15, he said.

Katika Thippayalai, a lecturer from Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Economics, said if the government supports a monthly pension of 3,000 baht for five years, it will need a budget of 450 billion baht.

The move will help increase money circulating in the economy by as much as 700 billion baht and boost GDP by at least 4.17%, she said.

She also proposed the government collect more tax by raising VAT from 7% to 10%, similar to what Japan did in 2019, to support the pension scheme.

Nooken Inthajun, from the Klong Toey Port Community, said the government needs to improve universal welfare for the elderly as many elderly still work for a living.

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