By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, stated on Thursday that the country must face ‘head on’ the social security reform. According to the President the Brazilian population is getting older and life-expectancy has increased.
“It is not possible that the average age for retirement is 55 years old,” said the President in a press conference with journalists in Brasilia. “There will be less people working in the future to sustain more people, who do not work,” she added.
New rules for the calculations of social security benefits were sanctioned in November by the President, but according to her a reform in the system must be made. The new rules increase the number of years of work needed before social security benefits are paid.
When asked if Congress, and opposition representatives, would approve such a reform, the President was firm, “Opposition political parties need to have a minimum level of commitment to the country.”
According to the President the government plans to create a Labor and Social Security Forum, with members of the labor force, government, businesses and Congress to discuss the much needed reforms.
President Rousseff stated there are many ways the country can deal with the issue. “Developed countries seek to increase the minimum age for access to social security benefits,” noted the President, adding that any solution found must maintain the rights already acquired by the workers already in the labor force.
Analysts say that if rights are maintained for the current labor force, effects of any reform would only be felt in the long term.