Roundtable Discussions on the Reform Program in connection with Social Security benefits (Part two)
- U Win Naing, Representative of Employers
MRTV aired a live program (Part Two) on talks under the theme “On the Reform Program in connection with Social Security Benefits”, in which U Maung Maung Aye, Director-General of the Social Security Board; Daw Than Than Nu, Director of the SSB; U Win Naing, Representative of the Employers; Daw Phyo Sandar Soe, Representative of the Workers; and ILO National Project Coordinator Dr. Thein Than Htay have participated in the discussions.
- By Khin Yadanar
Photo: May Oo Moe
Moderator: Kindly explain the current difficulties facing the Social Security Board.
Director-General: The social security project is implementing through the 2012 Social Security Law and that we have a lot of challenges. The social security project is aimed at covering the whole of the nation, and therefore, we have to expand many tasks such as an increase in number of hospitals and clinics. On the whole, there are (8) million in the formal sector and (14) million in the informal sector. We are trying to develop infrastructure, but we have budget constraint. When we encountered budget cut, we have to reduce the implementation costs.
The social security cost is borne by the funds contributed by the employers and the workers, and therefore, we have two types of budgets. One is union budget and the other is own budget. Pay and allowances of the officers and staff members are incurred for the government budget, while the expenditure for the capital assets, current normal expenditure, medical expense and benefit are incurred from the contributed budget.
Magway Region and Bago Region asked allocation for the construction of hospitals, for which we could provide with the approval of the government. However, we have scarcity of human resource problem. We need health staff from the Ministry of Health and Sports, for which the ministry could not provide us. We have infrastructure, but have no skill persons, resulting with difficulties.
We have (3) hospitals and (96) clinics, while hospitals have no problem with the easy access to them, but the clinics are located in far places from the worksites creating travelling hitches that need to make adjustments. Clinics open at 9:30 in the morning and closes down at 4:30 pm, making difficulty for the workers to reach there in time.
The number of workers expanded and now stands out at (12, 50,000), and the number of clinics remained unchanged. Health workers are in shortage, resulting with the patients for more waiting time. In some cases, they have to wait four to five hours that needs to be addressed.
Some workers would like to discuss on social security matters with social security office during office hours which is not feasible to accord due to loss of working time. The HR persons have been gathered at the industrial zone in providing information to them, however, they usually never engage in the debriefing session back to the workers at the worksites, making us in a tight position.
We asked them to keep in touch to get updated information for better management. The workers are holding different ID cards from different factories at different times, and carrying out in old procedures, making us difficult to manage contribution funds. The issuance and holding of ID cards are in a mess as it involved two to three persons. The solution is to aim at the information and technology (IT) system and discard the existing paper-base system.
Stepping into the IT system, we need the cooperation of the employers and the trade unions, and therefore, we asked them to assist us. We are trying to the best of our ability for the good of the employers and the workers in accordance with the prescribed law and regulations. We always asked and discuss to work together.
Moderator: The representative of the employer may kindly explain the relationship among the employers, the workers and the social security board.
Representative of the Employer: I am representing the Myanmar Industries Association, and that I am responsible as Chairman for South Dagon Industrial Zone Management Committee. It is kind of employers association. We would like to share our employers’ views and our voices at an appropriate time while meeting with the responsible persons.
The Social Security Board is established on good foundation with considerate vision and working diligently. However, in the eyes of the employers association, the SSB itself is not secured and sufficient while working for the social security of the workers. The SSB is facing many restrictions, and that I have witnessed by myself.
Generally speaking, the location of all the clinics should be in an appropriate distance from the accident prone worksites. However, the clinics are located at far places. We would like to have clinics at every industrial zone, for which I am aware of the fact that the responsible persons are also trying to fulfill this objective.
Meanwhile, we have been working with four outside private clinics in Hline Thar Yar, Shwe Pyi Thar, and Shwe Lin Ban zones. As they have private business working nature, we have no big problems. The employers are of the view that their duty and obligation is completed if they have contributed their portion of cash contributions whether the workers take treatment or otherwise. This is a bit extraordinary phenomenon in our country.
The tripartite meeting of this kind is rare in other courtiers. The amount of funds being contributed by the employers is enormous as it is contributed by the employers and the workers, and that the total amount increased over the years.
However, the outsiders have the wrong perceptions such as that the SSB is just providing medical treatment, nothing more. The view of outsiders is focused on the large amount of funds, and thinking what are supposed to spend the money.
The ground reality is different on the fact that the accumulated funds are to be spread out for many faceted of expenditures under the social security benefit system such as after retirement care, disabled condition care, accidental mishaps, and total retirement subsistence. They have totally forgotten all these expenses.
There are many necessary expenses that have to be incurred in the extended period.
The Social Security Board caters to people in the 18-59 age group, but goes considerably beyond the age limit to provide as much support as it can.
In the case of maternity benefits, the child bearing female registered worker as well as the husband is entitled to enjoy the benefits. Non-registered female child bearing wife is also entitled. This is outstanding benefits of our country Myanmar.
The difficulty is getting land plot in the industrial zone for establishing medical clinics. We are trying to establish a clinic at the South Dagon Industrial Zone. The Union Government has handed down the authorization of land plot to the Yangon Regional Government; however, to reach into the hands of the SSB is quite difficult, and that required efforts are being exerted.
Similarly on district wise issue, our hospital is located at Nya Na Ba La Hillock in Htan Ta Bin Township, and that any health problem related to workers in Yangon East District and Yangon North District find it undesirable experiences going there.
Therefore, we are looking for an alternative in Yangon East District, but there are difficulties in getting the land plot, the doctors and the nurses for establishing mini-hospital. We are looking for private hospitals or private clinics in facilitating the workers in full time service such as care well clinics which is appropriate and suitable for the workers. The medical professionals are to attend the patients and actual expenses are to be settled by the SSB. This is an alternative solution.
We need to deploy the emergency ambulance vehicles as well as establishing more clinics, however, the good ideas are halted when we consider about the budget.
We could come together among the employers and the workers in solving the hurdles, and that at this juncture we need the professional idea and views from the perspective of the ILO and the legal experts, and what I have just discussed is the stances on the part of the employers.
(To be continued)
Translated by UMT (Ahlon)