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Panama´s President Recognizes Political Cost
of Pension Reforms

Prensa Latina


June 10, 2005

Panama, Jun 10 (Prensa Latina) Panamanian President Martin Torrijos admitted that the new reforms to the Social Security Fund (CSS), although necessary, carry a high political cost for his government. 

The pension reform, ending the first phase of structural transformations in Panama, is essential to modernize the country, according to the president.

The National Front for the Defense of the Social Security Fund (FRENADESSO) has been promoting and organizing strikes and demonstrations nationwide for two weeks to achieve the repeal of the pension reform.

The congress voted to increase the retirement age of women to 60, and men to 65. The law will be introduced gradually between 2007-2015.

The plan also increased the amounts of money workers have to pay into the social security system to qualify for a state pension.

Opponents reiterated that the strike and protests would end if the government of President Martin Torrijos revokes the new reform to the Social Security Fund.

President Torrijos responded saying that the law is the only viable formula to take Panama's Social Security Fund out of the financial crisis, and ensure its survival for at least 35 more years. At present the fund has a deficit of $4.5 billion. 

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