Official defends slow process of SCP

National 2 minutes, 29 seconds


A SENIOR Ministry of Finance official yesterday defended the slow development process of Supplemental Contributory Pension (SCP) scheme, saying that they covered all areas to ensure it is relevant to the local population's needs.

Deputy Permanent Secretary (Performance and Compliance) at the Ministry of Finance Hj Roselan Hj Mohd Daud said that the scheme, which has only been publicised recently, has been undergoing research and planning since 2005.

"This is a very important government policy and we want to make sure that it covers all," he told The Brunei Times on the sidelines of a briefing on the pension scheme at the Ministry of Communications.

"We have to make sure we cover the informal sector and also that people can afford it," he explained.

Hj Roselan added that the SCP complies with the four principles of solidarity, sustainability, affordability and accessibility, recommended by the United Nations for countries reviewing their old-age pension schemes.

"These four key principles are important things for us to look at," he said.

The deputy permanent secretary was also on hand to answer questions of the participants on the SCP.

A number of questions was raised on the scheme's survivorship feature, which allows the continuation of SCP payouts for the beneficiaries of the SCP applicant in the event of his or her death.

Hj Roselan explained that there are two different scenarios where this could happen.

The first would be the case where the SCP applicant passes away before reaching the age of retirement.

"You get two benefits. One is the Survivorship Account and the other is the Participant's Special Pension (Pencen Khas Peserta) Account."

"The survivorship account will give the beneficiaries a minimum of $400 and, on top of that, the savings accummulated during the member's working period will be paid out as well," he said, adding that research has shown that the average male living in the Sultanate is expected to live to the age of 75 compared to 77 for women.

The deputy permanent secretary explained that, in the case of one passing away after reaching the age of retirement, the beneficiary would continuously receive the same amount of annuity for the entire duration of the pension scheme plan.

"For example, if you pass away at the age of 65, you would have benefited from the annuity for the first five years so you only have a balance of 10 years left. Your children, wife or beneficiaries will therefore be able to get the annuity for the remaining 10 years," he said.

Hj Roselan also used the opportunity to clarify that children under the age of 21 would be eligible to benefit directly from the SCP scheme in the event of a parent's death.

However, for those over the age of 21, the remaining amount of the scheme would be handed over to the court where the money will be divided among the beneficiaries under Faraid (inheritance) calculations according to Islamic law.

The Brunei Times