Thu, 27 Apr 2000

AJSI calls for a unified security program provider

JIMBARAN, Bali (JP): The Association of Social Security Providers in Indonesia (AJSI) has called on the government to merge five state companies running social security programs for the sake of efficiency and better services.

AJSI chairman Awaloedin Djamin said all the state companies which manage social security programs for workers, civil servants, servicemen and public transportation passengers had long been plagued with inefficiency and high costs.

"The merge will result in an institutionally and financially strong social security firm that will seek efficiency and maximum benefits for the people," he said after the closing ceremony of the ASEAN Social Security Association's (ASSA) annual meeting here on Wednesday.

The companies are PT Jamsostek, which deals with social security for workers, PT Askes (medicare programs for civil servants and their relatives), PT Taspen (pension funds for civil servants and retirees), PT Asabri (social security programs for servicemen) and PT Jasa Rahardja (accident insurance for public transportation passengers).

Awaloedin, a former National Police chief, said the proposed national social security system should be handled by an independent and non-profit state agency which ideally fell under the President's supervision.

He said AJSI had long proposed a merger of the five companies on grounds that they did not yield enough profits to the government as the sole shareholder, not to mention the people. This violated the Constitution and the International Labor Organization (ILO) convention on social security programs, according to Awaloedin.

"You can imagine how much the five companies have paid in annual taxes and dividends to the government, while most of the people participating in the social security programs have yet to enjoy the benefits," he said.

Jamsostek's president, Ackmal Husin, hailed AJSI's proposal, saying the social security system in Indonesia needed restructuring in order to improve people's social welfare.

He said Jamsostek was involved in an indepth study to seek an ideal social security system in the country.

"Jamsostek will throw its weight behind the government's decision to merge the five companies, but it must be well prepared and implemented gradually to avoid disturbances to participants," he said.

Askes president Sonia Roesma expressed her objection to the proposal because it would cause numerous new problems in the provision of social protection for workers, civil servants and servicemen.

"We will agree to a merger of similar programs, not a unification of companies. We would be glad if, for example, Askes was entrusted to handling medicare insurance for workers, civil servants and servicemen while the provident funds were handled by Jamsostek," she said.

Meanwhile, Jamsostek's director of operational affairs, Bambang Purwoko, called on labor unions to end long-standing bickering over their permanent representative in the tripartite executive board in the state company.

"All funds collected by Jamsostek under the social security programs do not belong to labor unions. They belong to workers participating in the programs," he said. (rms)