Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bloomberg: Ukraine to raise retirement age in exchange for loan

August 9, 2010 (KIEV - Bloomberg). Ukraine’s government plans to raise the retirement age for women to 60 over the next decade as it seeks to qualify for future payments from a new $15.2 billion loan program with the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg reported Monday. A law increasing by five years the age at which women qualify for state pensions will be submitted to Parliament by the end of September, according to an agreement with the IMF published Friday on the Washington-based lender’s website. The pension age for women will be raised by six months every year for the next 10 years. “We intend to reform the pension system with the objective of putting it on sound financial footing,” the government said in the agreement. Ukraine aims to “equalize the pension age for all workers,” the government said. The IMF approved a two-and-a-half year long loan program for Ukraine on July 28, disbursing $1.9 billion immediately. The government needs to pass laws and implement administrative changes to qualify for future installments. The government also promised to raise natural gas prices for households by 50 percent in April 2011 and increase them every six months until domestic prices equal import prices, according to the agreement. Ukraine raised the gas price for households by 50 percent to 725 Ukrainian hryvnia ($91.88) per 1,000 cubic meters beginning Aug. 1, compared with the $248 the country pays for imported Russian gas.