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Social insurance debts to be punished strickly
By Tuan Minh 16:46, 2014/10/16
Businesses that evade paying social insurance premiums for workers should be punished more harshly, the deputy general-director of Vietnam Social Insurance, Do Van Sinh, said at a meeting on October 15.

Enterprises owing social insurance premiums and medical insurance have been multiplying in every locality and sector, especially private firms and household businesses, Sinh said.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, about 16 million workers should have mandatory social insurance. However, only 11 million workers have registered to join the compulsory social insurance scheme.

The Viet Nam Chamber of Industry and Commerce estimates that as many as 150,000 firms are currently behind in paying social insurance premiums for their workers. And social and medical insurance debt has grown to VND11.5 trillion (US$542 million), as of August's end.

Some of the policy barriers had to do with social insurance interest rate levied on businesses delaying paying social security is much lower than the bank's interest rate, thus tempting businesses to use social insurance money to invest in other matters, Sinh said.

Social insurance authorities aren't allowed to fine violating firms, and lax inspection policies make it difficult to collect outstanding debts, he said. The Criminal Code does not include evasion of social and medical insurance payment, so criminal prosecution is not permitted in such cases.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, noted during the meeting that despite some progress, about 34 million workers still lack any form of social insurance protection, and about 27 million people lack health insurance.

The number of people under the voluntarily social insurance scheme has been particularly low, reaching only about 173,600 by the end of 2013.

Outside the Government and Party's efforts, social organizations play a key role in enhancing workers' and employers' awareness of the benefits of social insurance, Nhan said.

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