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Government Introduces New Voluntary Pension Scheme

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The federal government is set to launch a Voluntary Pension Scheme starting from July 1st, replacing the existing traditional pension system. This transition comes as a response to demands from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and aims to streamline pension provisions for government employees in Pakistan. Under this new scheme, all newly recruited government employees will be enrolled in the voluntary pension scheme effective July 1st, while existing employees will continue to receive pensions from the official budget.

The government plans to offer employees the option to switch to the new scheme voluntarily, ensuring a smooth transition for all stakeholders. The Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has been instrumental in developing this new pension scheme, which is not only targeted at government employees but also extends to the private sector. The SECP recommends that private sector entities shift from providing Provident Funds or Gratuity to offering the voluntary pension scheme, emphasizing the need for a more sustainable and reliable income source for retirees. One of the key advantages of this voluntary pension scheme is its continuity despite changes in employment status. This feature ensures that employees can maintain their pension benefits regardless of shifts in their service or career trajectory, providing them with financial security and stability post-retirement.

Currently, there are 43 pension funds operational in Pakistan, with total investments exceeding 61 billion rupees. The success of pension funds in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where 21 funds are operational for government employees, serves as a model for other provinces like Punjab, which is now considering adopting the Voluntary Pension Scheme to alleviate financial pressures on its budget.

The IMF’s directive for Pakistan to implement this voluntary pension scheme underscores the importance of fiscal responsibility and sustainability in managing pension obligations. The government’s commitment to enacting legislation for this scheme through the finance bill reflects a proactive approach towards modernizing pension systems and ensuring long-term financial stability.

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