SSS revenues exceed target in 2017

SOCIAL SECURITY System (SSS) breached its revenue target in 2017 on the back of its intensified collection efforts.

In a statement sent to reporters on Monday, the state pension fund said it booked P200.5 billion in total earnings from members’ contribution and investment as well as other income last year.

This is 15% higher than the P174.46 billion collected in 2016 and also 5.6% above the pension fund’s P189.79-billion target for 2017.

“We achieved good numbers in 2017 on the back of our intensified campaign to increase our collections. We are pleased that the efforts of the SSS management and employees paid off,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc was quoted as saying in the statement.

Contribution collections, which cornered the bulk of the pension fund’s 2017 revenues, rose 10.6% to P159.72 billion from the P144.36 billion recorded in 2016.

Revenues from investments and other income soared 35.5% to P40.78 billion last year from P30.1 billion in the comparable year-ago period.

On the other hand, the expenditures of SSS, which include benefit payments and operating expenses, climbed 26.5% to P180.2 billion in 2017 from P142.46 billion the previous year.

SSS said P170.68 billion was released for benefit payments, climbing 28.4% from the P132.98 billion doled out in 2016. Mr. Dooc attributed the increase to the monthly pension increase approved by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in January 2017.

“In 2017, SSS fulfilled President Duterte’s promise to give higher benefits to our pensioners. We have disbursed roughly P33.5 billion to cover the additional benefit to pensioners starting January 2017,” Mr. Dooc said.

Meanwhile, SSS’s operating expenses increased slightly to P9.52 billion from P9.48 billion in 2016. SSS said this is still below the allowed amount under the Social Security Charter.

“We’ll strive to make benefits more relevant while ensuring financial viability through the support of all our stakeholders, especially our legislators, who are now studying the proposed SS Charter Amendment Act due for bicameral hearing soon,” Mr. Dooc added.

In January, Mr. Dooc said SSS intends to increase its monthly contribution rate by three percentage points to 14% by April, which is expected to raise P45 billion in additional collections and extend its fund life by 12 years.

“We plan to increase it (the contribution rate) by 1.5 [percentage points] from 11%, but we have lost that opportunity when the increase was not implemented last year. For practical purposes, we have to increase it by three [percentage points],” he told reporters.

SSS intends to hike its contribution rate by 1.5 percentage points annually until it reaches 17%. Currently, the 11% contribution rate is being shouldered by the employer (7.37%) and the employee (3.63%). (Written by Karl Angelo N. Vidal, BusinessWord)

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