SSS chairman Amado Valdez said the agency supports the government’s Build Build Build program, which aims to maintain a six  to seven percent economic growth until 2022 through massive infrastructure projects. SC PIO/Released, File

SSS investing in infra PPP
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines —  State-run Social Security System (SSS) is looking to invest in the Duterte administration’s big-ticket infrastructure projects in line with its strategy to boost its profitability.

SSS chairman Amado Valdez said the agency supports the government’s Build Build Build program, which aims to maintain a six  to seven percent economic growth until 2022 through massive infrastructure projects.

The Duterte administration earlier announced plans to spend about P8.4 trillion to improve the country’s infrastructure,

“SSS is planning to invest in the government’s Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) program which includes road and tollway projects as such would generate a lifetime income for the pension fund,” Valdez said.

The pension fund earlier said its was looking for ways to generate more income, given its higher expenditures with the approval of the P2,000 pension hike.

Last March, the SSS disbursed around P7 billion to about 2.2 million pensioners, representing the first tranche of the P2,000 hike.

In the first quarter, the SSS released a total of P44.77 billion, 43.06 percent higher than the P31.3 billion disbursed the previous year.

SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc said the agency’s  investments in PPP  projects would be feasible only when the proposed charter amendment passes in both the  lower and upper chambers of Congress.

“Under the proposed charter amendment dubbed as the Social Security Reform Act of 2017, powers and responsibilities of the SSC will be rationalized allowing it to widen its investment opportunities for better fund returns,” Dooc said.

Dooc added that the current 20-year old Social Security Act of 1997 limits the SSC’s power to invest its reserve fund in infrastructure projects, foreign currency-denominated investments, government financial institutions and corporations, housing, private securities, real estate, short- and medium-term member loans.

Valdez said the pension fund supports the administration’s “Dutertenomics,” economic agenda, which aims to ensure economic inclusion of all Filipinos by dramatically raising funds, a large part of which through the proposed tax reform program.

 “Healthy economic performance will lead to better business for the employers that will eventually be translated to their employees, giving them space for savings such as social security protection that they may use in times of contingencies and retirement. More jobs will expand our membership, increase our contribution revenues and improve the ratio of our actively-paying members to the number of pensioners which will result in a more robust SSS,” Dooc added.

The pension fund also expressed its support for the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN).

“The SSS supports the effort of the administration on tax reform program because it will result in a more efficient delivery of service to our people, including the pensioners,” Valdez said.

Dooc said the holistic passage of the tax reform package would benefit the low and middle income earners especially with the provision to adjust the long-overdue income tax brackets in the country.

“Based on the tax reform proposal of the Finance department, families receiving a combined monthly income of between P13,000 and P40,000 will have their take-home pay increased between P1,100 and 3,500 per month or P14,000 to P42,000 per year,” Dooc said.

Member contributions grew 9.6 percent in the first four months of the year to P52.18 billion.

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