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IMF urges Belarus to raise retirement age

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According to the demographic report prepared by the IMF experts, the population of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe will shrink markedly over the next 30 years unlike that of Asia, Africa and the Americas, TUT.by writes.  

The reasons are low birth rates and migration in Europe. In this regard, the IMF recommends demographic reforms, including some for Belarus.

The experts claim that the reduction of the population entails three negative consequences. First, it will have a negative impact on economic growth, living standards and financial stability. Secondly, as the population ages, the pressure on health care and pension systems will increase. Third, the ageing of the population will affect the economic productivity.

For each country, the IMF experts propose their own measures. In particular, it is recommended to raise the retirement age for Belarus.

"Pension age reform is likely to be required in most countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, but it will be especially expedient in Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine - both in terms of the number of labor force and financial stability," the report says.

In addition, the IMF experts recommend that Belarusian authorities pay attention to the employment of women, as well as of people over 55 years of age. The latter measure, according to experts, could be very effective: "Belarus would get a great benefit if it would increase the employment of older people even without raising the retirement age.

Back in 2016, the IMF strongly recommended that Belarusian authorities continue pension reforms in order to close the pension gap after 2022. The experts of the Fund advised to raise the pension plan for both men and women under 65 years old.