Reforming Pension Systems in Transitional Economies: Case study of Kazakhstan 1
Reform of pension systems in the transitional economies has been driven by a number of macroeconomic imperatives: first, to achieve the fiscal retrenchment that has become necessary given the relatively small tax base of many transitional states. The small size of their tax base has made it difficult for them to continue to meet the large contingent liabilities, stretching well into the future, created by the existence of unfunded pension schemes. ‘Many governments have failed to accept or understand that, in a market economy, a tax system should be based on laws that establish tax rates and rules for objectively defining the tax bases and should have one paramount objective – to raise revenue as efficiently and equitably as possible’ ( Tanzi, 1999, p. 23). Second, reform of the pension system has also been necessary because, under central planning, responsibility for providing many social services rested at the level of the firm. Large state monopolies were, effectively, mini-welfare states for their employees. Third, it is widely recognized that funded pension schemes increase the savings rate and hence provide a deeper pool of investment capital for economic development. Obviously, the question of pension reform is intimately related to the more general issue of transfer payments and income distribution policy in transitional economies, among which are interest payments on the public debt.
However, beyond these macroeconomic factors, the relationship between the development of funded pension schemes and that of financial markets is a crucial one: funded pensions cannot exist without the