Social Security Development Strategy for 2030, Version toward 2045

11:30:01 AM | 11/5/2021

The Vietnam Social Security (VSS) recently held an online international consultative webinar on "Social Security development strategy for 2030 and version toward 2045". Attendants put forth scientific opinions on the long-term development goals of the country and the social security industry in the coming decades.

Approach to international integration in line with regional and world trends

The Vietnam Social Security (VSS) can improve infrastructure, institutions and organizational structure to strengthen international and regional integration. Specifically, regional integration requires cooperation among countries in trade, investment and domestic regulation; transport infrastructure, information and communication technology; energy; macroeconomic and financial policy; and public goods (e.g. natural resources, security and education). To achieve this, the VSS can work with social security partners, regional banks and international institutions to receive support for international integration.

Ensuring sustainable finance

Firstly, the VSS can apply fixed operating costs with the Fund Investment Management Department. Fixed costs can be planned and calculated annually to measure fund progress and assess the long-term sustainability of social insurance provided by the VSS. In addition, any change in benefits or services provided must be based on a fixed cost plan and calculation to determine its short- and long-term effects on the fund. These recommendations can be made simultaneously with the regular participation of national and international consultants, who can provide control and balance of valuation.

In addition to continuously monitoring long-term sustainability, the VSS may consider implementing responsive contribution policies. Depending on the fund status, a law/decree may be enacted to allow the VSS to float the contribution rate. This allows the VSS to change the contribution rate according to its needs and the current economic situation. For example, in the context of declining growth, the contribution rate can be reduced to encourage people to participate in social insurance.

Shifting from management to service thinking

To increase digital users globally, the VSS can also leverage social media platforms to better distribute information to large audience groups in a short time. Regarding official government websites, internet users can frequently use popular social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social media also makes it easy for people to share information or news about VSS to their socially connected communities. Another option is adopting a chatbot that can answer general questions. This reduces the need for people to receive and respond to customer inquiries and these people can be mobilized into deeper strategies for innovative solutions that reduce costs in the long run.

Universal health insurance and 50% of socially insured workers by 2030

By requiring health insurance as a condition to get government support or subsidies, the VSS can achieve higher levels of social insurance coverage. Besides, it requires all individuals aged 18 to register for social insurance. Through this approach, individuals will be less likely to skip insurance once they are employed. This must go hand in hand with the effective and active enforcement of the VSS to ensure compliance and set an example of consequence for uninsured individuals.

The VSS may also consider organizing campaigns for all people in Vietnam. such programs as public employment services including public career fairs, seminars and public talks can engage more people. The VSS can then reach out to program beneficiaries to convince them to sign up for health insurance and social insurance.

Diversifying voluntary, flexible and competitive social insurance packages

In the draft Vietnam Social Insurance Industry Development Strategy, by 2025, 2.5% of the workforce will be farmers and the informal sector. Understanding the size of the informal sector, gender segments and reasons for no insurance can provide better insights into how sustainable insurance can be achieved.

The VSS may consider linking social insurance and unemployment insurance with health insurance (currently more successful) or combining these three social security programs with social allowances and other government support. By doing so, Vietnam's social security landscape will be less fragmented as data and enforcement can be consolidated. Then, the rate of evasion and dropout will decrease and the cohesion of the social security system in Vietnam will be enhanced.

Adapting to post-pandemic situations

As the COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, it is important for the VSS to consider other groups of participants besides registered employers and employees. The VSS may consider taking advantage of the pandemic period to expand and promote coverage to other uninsured people such as household workers, freelancers and workers in technology platforms, as well as people outside the workforce such as housewives and students. The VSS may implement programs that specifically target groups of people previously uninsured. Such programs may have appropriate fee rates or online fees to incentivize participants.

In addition to physical health, the pandemic has affected the mental health of many people due to social distancing and reduced income. To ensure health and safety for people, mental health should also be considered an important aspect of health.

Global social security issues in 2021-2025 and requirements

In addition to challenges stated in the draft strategy, the VSS can refer to 10 global social security challenges suggested by ISSA. For the Asia and Pacific region, challenges include closing the coverage gap; health care and long-term care; digital transformation; high public expectations; population aging; labor market and digital economy; jobs for young workers; life inequality; new risks, mutations and extreme events; and protection for migrant workers.

Each challenge requires its own complicated solutions although VSS is recommended to adopt a flexible approach to activity and policy management. Given increased challenges, the VSS needs to quickly adapt to changes and prepare active strategies and response policies to address specific challenges.

By H.T, Vietnam Business Forum