April 6, 2010

THAILAND: Burden from seniors will get greater, study shows

. BANGKOK, Thailand / The Nation / National / April 6, 2010 Thailand is likely to have 12 million senior citizens by 2020 - a number that could overwhelm the welfare system and pension payments, according to a study by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). The workforce would be smaller a decade on with fiscal revenue "shrinking" while the government would face a greater burden paying more welfare and pensions, Sarawuth Phaithoonphong said. The number of retirees was tipped to reach 17 million by 2030, seven million of who would be elderly labourers, the researcher said. There are now 7.71 million seniors or retirees in Thailand, 3.17 million of whom are elderly workers. Co-researcher Asst Prof Nongnuch Sunthornchawakarn said the number of elderly workers was high because these people lacked education or had a low educational background. Nongnuch, a lecturer at Thammasat University, said a third of senior citizens now still need to work after turning 60. The number of those wanting to work would rise by 5.4 per cent over the next 10 years, but demand by employers was likely to rise by less than half that - 2.5 per cent. Nongnuch urged the government to increase job opportunities for elderly workers and seniors in areas suitable to them, such as jobs that required special skills or minimal supervision. Other conditions should also be implemented such as shorter hours for seniors and tax incentives for employers who hire them. [rc] (c) 2007 www.nationmultimedia.com Thailand