Viet Nam News
HCM CITY— Twenty members of the ASEAN Social Security Association (ASSA) yesterday signed a joint statement on social security on the occasion of the 35th ASSA Board Meeting and 20th ASSA establishment anniversary held in Khánh Hòa Province’s Nha Trang City.
The agreement reaffirms the commitment to the ASSA Memorandum of Agreement, which reflects the collective desire and will towards fostering a united social security community on the basis of consensus, in the interest of the people, stability and development in the region.
The agreement also contributes to social advancements and equality, thus playing a role in building the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, ensuring social security interests pursuant to the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and moving towards “a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centered ASEAN”.
It highlights the desire for an innovative approach and long-term vision against the backdrop of a new period of development for the ASEAN social security system, wherein new opportunities and challenges from the fourth industrial revolution, unity in diversity, and the full play of the respective strengths of ASSA members can create synergy for the Association as a whole.
It also reflects the interest of sustaining social security for all citizens of the ASEAN community under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
At the meeting, Nguyễn Thị Minh, vice minister, director general of Việt Nam Social Security took over the chairmanship of ASEAN Social Security Association for 2018-2019.
“Việt Nam wants to work with ASSA members to make the ASSA family bigger and stronger,” Minh said.
She also recommended that ASSA strengthen co-operation with international organisations to have a universal, sustainable, reliable, transparent and comprehensive social security systems.
Increasing flow of labour
Like many countries, ASEAN countries have seen an upward trend of guest workers thanks to favourable conditions brought by the fourth industrial revolution.
According to delegates at the two-day 35th ASSA Board Meeting which ended yesterday, the free flow of labour is considered a positive sign for the labour market, but has led to many challenges in ensuring social security, although labourers contribute to the country where they work.
Jens Schremmer of the International Social Security Association said that migrant workers usually work short-term jobs and do not pay attention to their rights.
Communication to improve their awareness is very important, and social security policies should be designed to help them more easily access information via digital transformation, he said.
Indrajid Nurmukti, assistant deputy director of Inter-Institutional Affair National Social Secuirty Programme (Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial Ketenagakerjaan) in Indonesia, said that an e-service for social security for all workers including migrants is being carried out in the country.
“As mandated by law, BPJS Ketenagakerjaan should provide social security protection to all workers,” he said.
“Digital technology enables BPJS Ketenagakerjaan to increase its performance to expand social security membership, especially in difficult-to-cover groups and small and medium sized enterprises,” he added.
Mohammed Azman of Malaysian Social Security Organisation said that his country’s labour market had been affected by the free flow of labour. The number of guest workers rose from 1.8 million in 2014 to more than 2.2 million in 2017, not including illegal labourers.
Most of the workers have paid attention only to salary and working conditions, not caring about social insurance, he said, adding that the proportion of female workers is high, and most of them work as homemaids or caregivers. This requires countries to offer solutions soon to improve workers’ awareness and ensure their benefits.
Malaysia has amended labour laws regulating guest workers so they can enjoy the same benefits as locals.
Azman said it was important to sign an agreement about social security among countries.
According to Đinh Duy Hùng of Việt Nam Social Security the country has 500,000 guest workers in foreign countries, and the figure is expected to increase year by year.
However, only 6,000 of them are taking part in social insurance.
The ASSA was formed to set up regional cooperation for social security development, and to provide a forum for member institutions to exchange views and experiences on social security issues.
The ASSA has 20 member institutions from 10 ASEAN countries. It has been the premier association for regional social security cooperation in the ASEAN region.—VNS