October 18: The Social Security Scheme announced by the government with much fanfare witnessed lukewarm response from employers as the deadline for getting enlisted in the scheme expired on Thursday, October 17.
The government had announced the contributions-based Social Security Scheme for the welfare of workers employed in the private sector on November 27, 2018. The scheme which offers workers with lifelong pension after retirement was supposed to be implemented from the starting of the new fiscal year.
The government had urged the private sector to get listed in the scheme within mid-October 2019 but only 8100 employers responded to the government’s appeal. So far, the scheme is expected to benefit 91,800 workers of these 8100 enterprises.
According to a survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are around 923,000 commercial enterprises in Nepal. Out of them, only 462,000 enterprises are registered with the government.
Preliminary study of the Social Security Scheme had estimated around 200,000 enterprises to participate in the scheme. However, very few enterprises have listed themselves so far.
Following the dismal show up, the government is considering extending the timeframe for the private sector to get listed in the scheme.
“The Social Security Scheme is in its initial state. We will extend the timeframe for the private sector to get listed in the scheme,” said Kapil Mani Gyawali, executive director of the Social Security Fund under the scheme.
Gyawali said that the government is trying to review the policy of the scheme and to dispel doubts in order to attract more companies towards this initiative.
“The private sector has been complaining of some ambiguous policies,” said Gyawali, adding, “We will address this issue soon.”
Stakeholders say that it is difficult to attract more companies towards this scheme unless the government addresses ambiguous policies regarding pension, medical expenses, provident fund among others.
The private sector has said they are not enthusiastic about joining the scheme as the government itself is not clear about the policies of the scheme.
Meanwhile, Vice President of Confederation of Nepalese Industries Rajesh Agrawal said the Social Security Scheme is in the initial stage and that the current participation cannot be considered as unimpressive.
“It is an encouraging participation as there are as many as 8100 enterprises in the initial stage,” said Agrawal.
Chairman of the HR Society Nepal, Mohan Ojha, said that the employers are reluctant to participate in the scheme as the government itself is not clear about the policies.