World Bank warns of Pension woes

A growing population of elderly residents and a booming black market economy that doesn't contribute to pensions mean trouble in years ahead despite reforms made so far.

In a policy study completed this summer, The World Bank has warned that the entity pension systems in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not sustainable and there will come a time when nearly half the elderly people in the country cannot collect pensions.

The report praised reforms made to the pension system so far, but said they will not be enough. As set up now, pension funds can not hold up especially in light of an increasing population of elderly citizens and a flourishing grey economy that cheats the fund of contributions.

In a 2007 report on Black Market Labor in BiH, the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) examined problems with the pension systems including lagging contributions and the failure of government officials to collect debts. The series warned of declining life styles for the aging because of the unofficial economy.

The World Bank, in a series of long-range recommendations in its report reaching into the next 20-50 years, suggested that the government switch from trying to supply full income to a pension that would be only an income supplement. It recommended an eventual rise in the retirement age too.