World Chile Senate Backs Pinera’s One-Time Pension Withdrawal Bill

22:50  26 november  2020
22:50  26 november  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

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Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Friday signed into law a plan to allow citizens to withdraw 10% of their pensions savings as people queued at The Office of the President said Pinera had signed the bill late on Friday but made no comment on its content. Pinera ` s centre-right government had

President Sebastian Pinera signed a bill into law late Friday allowing Chileans to withdraw retirement savings, following scenes of citizens lining Chile ’ s pension funds manage assets worth about 0 billion, and the bill approved by lawmakers yesterday allows people to take out 10% of their savings.

(Bloomberg) -- Chile’s senate passed a government-backed bill allowing people to tap their pension savings for a second time, while rejecting competing legislation that’s embroiled in a legal battle.

The senate on Thursday backed the proposal designed to boost household finances during the pandemic with 35 votes in favor and one against, after a similar measure passed earlier this year. They rejected the rival, opposition-sponsored bill that President Sebastian Pinera pledged to take to the constitutional court.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Chileans Vote On Referendum To Change Constitution © Bloomberg Chileans Vote On Referendum To Change Constitution

Sebastian Pinera, Chile’s president, wears a protective mask while speaking to members of the media at a polling station during the national referendum in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday, Oct. 25 2020.

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Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Sunday his government would appeal to the country' s Constitutional Court to halt an opposition measure aimed at allowing citizens to draw down a second installment from their privately held pensions .

Read more: Chileans Swamp Pension Offices as Pinera Concedes Defeat. Opposition lawmakers later introduced legislation that would allow a second round of “This is a one - time policy that can’t be repeated,” Finance Minister Ignacio Briones said about the government- backed bill earlier this month.

Photographer: Cristobal Olivares/Bloomberg

Pinera and opposition lawmakers are dueling over Chile’s privately-managed pension funds after they became one of the targets of months of social protests. Earlier this year, congress defied government pressure by passing legislation that sparked $17 billion in retirement withdrawals. When lawmakers later introduced another bill along the same lines, the president struck back by challenging it in the constitutional court, while reluctantly presenting his own proposal.

The government’s bill seeks to reclaim the president’s attributions for approving withdrawals through institutional channels, finance minister, Ignacio Briones, said. “Powers of the State must have limits, that’s what is at stake here,” he said, referring to the decision to challenge the opposition’s bill in court.

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In the face of opposition and pressure from the government, Chile ' s Senate has approved a bill which means citizens who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic can withdraw cash from their pension funds The historic vote will affect Chile ' s highly unpopular private pension system, one of

Chile ' s President Sebastian Pinera has announced plans to reform the country' s pensions system, a key measure aimed at easing In an address to the nation late Wednesday, Pinera said he will send a bill to Congress this week that proposes a gradual increase of mandatory contributions from 10 to 16

The legislation, which caps withdrawals at 150 UF ($5,678) and will subject some of them to taxation, now moves on to the lower house for fresh debate and votes.

According to the text, Chile’s pension funds, known locally as AFPs, will have as many as 30 business days to provide the money after a contributor requests the cash. The bill is expected to lead to roughly $15 billion in fresh withdrawals.

Broader Fight

The legislation is part of a broader fight for the future of Chile’s pensions, which hold roughly $200 billion in investments. The current system, introduced during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, has been targeted by protesters over its low payouts to retirees.

Read more: Chileans Raid Retirement Cash, Yanking Billions of Dollars

Detractors see the private pension funds as a cause of inequality in an investment grade country able to spend more on its people. People have used the money from the first withdrawals to pay down debt, buy consumer goods such as electronics and even make downpayments for new homes.

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Chile ' s President Sebastian Pinera has announced plans to reform the country' s pensions system, a key measure aimed at easing the South American country' s three-month old One of the key demands of protesters was reform of the pensions system, managed by for-profit Pension Fund Administrators.

Chilean presidential candidate Sebastian Pinera said on Wednesday that the state would increase its support Pensions in Chile are managed by six powerful private pension fund administrators, known as AFPs Center-left Bachelet has pledged to send a bill to Congress this month that will increase

chart: Chile's retail sales rebound as workers tap pension funds © Bloomberg Chile's retail sales rebound as workers tap pension funds

On the other hand, investors point out that the AFPs finance crucial investments and infrastructure nationwide. It will be a hot-button topic as the country re-writes its constitution next year.

Read more: Chile to Scrap Pinochet-Era Constitution in Landslide Vote

Amid the virus outbreak, Pinera’s government has pledged emergency aid worth 12% of gross domestic product, with measures including low-interest rate loans and job protection programs. Still, the pension withdrawals stood out for their direct impact, driving stronger-than-expected growth in the third quarter and adding 1.2% to GDP alone this year, according to the central bank.

Chile’s Finance Ministry expects the economy to shrink 5.5% this year before rebounding 5% in 2021.

(Updates with Finance minister quote in 4th paragraph, and details on bill in 5th and 6th paragraph)

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