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Dalibor Tomaš: Demographic renewal – a condition for the sustainability of the pension system


The pension system assumes a paramount role in ensuring a fundamental objective: the provision of post-employment income for individuals. Concurrently, it must adeptly attenuate risks associated with exceeding the average life expectancy, grappling with disability, and contending with the mortality of the familial breadwinner.

Prominently evident in contemporary pension frameworks is the principle of intergenerational solidarity, wherein extant workers contribute to the maintenance of pensions for the current cohort of retirees, anticipating reciprocity from the contributions of future workers during their own retirement. The contemporary shifts in pension paradigms are primarily instigated by demographic variables, posing enduring threats to their viability. These changes are manifest in diminished total fertility rates, a contraction in the employed demographic, and an elongation of life expectancy, thereby exacerbating the pensioner-to-contributor ratio. The demographic pressures are further compounded in the presence of population emigration.

Supplementary factors such as non-stimulative labour market conditions and a lack of incentivisation in social policies contribute to an elevated population of non-participants. Concurrently, fiscal indiscipline exacerbates the challenges confronting the sustainability and adequacy of pension systems.

The escalating populace of retirees necessitates augmented fiscal allocations or heightened solidarity within the system. In instances where the emphasis is directed towards solidarity, the pension system assumes a more pronounced social character, subjugating its insurance-oriented underpinnings.

The pension system of the Republic of Srpska is an inheritor of the socialist-era paradigm and is grounded in the principle of intergenerational solidarity. Its foundational attributes encompass the disbursement of current pensions from contemporaneous contributions. Moreover, pension quantification is predicated on employment tenure or insurance history, as well as wage levels, rather than the quantum of contributed contributions. Notably, the social facet of the system is accentuated through multi-tiered minimum pension levels contingent on the duration of the insurance history, superseding considerations of contributed contributions.

The demographic landscape of the Republic of Srpska unveils unfavourable trajectories, marked by an excess of deaths over births, a deteriorating age distribution, and the adverse ramifications of emigration. Cognizant of these trends, the present scholarly discourse underscores the pertinence of demographic renewal measures as a cornerstone policy imperative. Estimations from the Republic Institute of Statistics reveal a demographic deficit of 50,106 inhabitants in 2022 vis-à-vis the 2013 census. Negative demographic processes have impacted the disruption of biological structures, primarily manifested through the aging of the population; currently, every fifth inhabitant is aged over 65 years. The average labour force participation rate from 2018 to 2023 is 48.5%, signifying that more than half of the working-age population is not engaged in the labour market.

In projecting future demographic trends, all scenarios portend the perpetuation of adverse dynamics, encompassing diminishing population totals, dwindling cohorts of insured individuals, and a deepening imbalance in age distribution. Anticipated is an augmentation in the proportion of pensioners vis-à-vis the overall populace, reaching 32.8% by 2050. Consequently, the ratio of contributors to pensioners is poised to achieve parity within a decade, signalling a subsequent preponderance of pensioners

Consequently, the extant model of the pension system in the Republic of Srpska is rendered structurally unsustainable, primarily ascribed to deleterious demographic imperatives and exacerbated by an undue emphasis on solidarity, thereby accentuating its social underpinning. Prescriptive remedies necessitate the integration of redistribution within the pension system, while concurrently advocating for an insurance-centric model tethered to individual contributions.

The requisite long-term redress for the pension system mandates an unequivocal alignment of pension entitlements with contributed contributions. Qualification criteria for old-age pensions must be anchored in actuarial principles, thereby disentangling the social component from the system. These imperatives collectively advocate for a paradigmatic shift in the extant pension system model. Concurrently, proactive economic measures to increase labour force participation rates and curtail the informal economy emerge as indispensable imperatives.

In conclusion, the pivotal imperative lies in according dedicated attention to demographic rejuvenation initiatives, underscoring the foundational and quintessential nature of demographic parameters in shaping the policy trajectory of the Republic of Srpska.

The Srpska Times


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