The government will establish a central fund this year to make sure old-age pensions are disbursed in full and on time in provinces that are in need, Premier Li Keqiang has said.
At a press conference after the conclusion last Tuesday of the annual session of China's top legislature, he said that each province will have to contribute for this purpose.
Some provinces have had problems making pension payments because of a fall in their fiscal revenues and a deficit in pension funds.
Mr Li said: "This year, we plan to establish a central system of pension fund provisions that can be transferred to provinces in case of need. The initial contribution rate for all provinces will be 3%, which means each province will contribute 3% of their funds to the central provision to be used to fill the shortfalls that some provinces may face.
"If decades of hard work cannot earn one a decent retirement life, our future generations will lose faith in us."
He also said: "Despite the difficulties faced by some provinces, at the national level, we are capable of making pension payments in full and on time. As of the end of last year, the balance of China's pension insurance funds for urban workers stood at over CNY4.1 trillion (US$647.3 billion), and we had more revenues than expenditures. We also have CNY1.8 trillion in the social security fund as a strategic reserve, which is still increasing. So we are fully capable of ensuring full and timely payment of pension benefits nationwide."