By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Social Security Fund (FSS) is looking to expand its office area and also its staff volume in order to welcome the new citywide social security system which will come into effect on January 1, 2011.
Former president of the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS), Ip Peng Kin, assumed office as president of the administrative committee of the FSS yesterday with the presence of secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen at the Government Headquarters.
Ip told reporters after the inauguration that in the past two days he was studying the internal administrative operations of the social security system as well as other related arrangements that will be introduced when the system is launched.
He also said he will meet with different social service organisations this month to seek opinions concerning new social security contributors and the one-off retroactive contribution.
Two explanatory sessions on the new social security system will be held for the public on this coming Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The FSS chief recalled that every January the elderly are required to go to the FSS office to prove that they’re still alive in order to continue to receive the age pensions, and in months when the contributions are due the FSS office is “always packed with people”.
He disclosed that the Government is looking for a bigger place which will either be turned into the FSS’ new office or service station, so as to provide more convenience to residents.
There is no timetable for the expansion but Ip stressed that “the sooner the better”.
In addition, he said the current 183 FSS staff members are already very busy with dealing with the existing social security contributions, maintaining the central saving accounts as well as processing the applications for early withdrawals of MOP 10,000 from the accounts.
Once the newly revised social security system is in place, Ip said it is expected that more than 10,000 local residents will register with the FSS to become new contributors and also apply to make a retroactive contribution in a bid to boost their future retirement pensions.
Hence, Ip said the fund is currently preparing to hire around 20 more staff members in face of the increasing workloads.
When asked whether he has anything that he regrets throughout the 23 years working at the IAS, the new FSS president was silent for a while with tears almost coming out of his eyes, “I’ve a lot of feelings for me leaving the IAS”.
“My first job was at the IAS and I learned from there. My superior had also given me a lot of support […] I’ve a little bit of regret. The IAS has implemented a lot of major projects and I hope the president can do well in them,” Ip said, without elaborating further.