Dr. Haya Al-Manie
A local daily quoting an official source recently reported that about 40 percent of pensioners do not own their homes. This figure is alarming since most of these people are elderly, and it is very difficult for them to get a house without the direct support of non-profit government organizations.
Where have the investments of the Public Pension Agency (PPA) and the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) gone instead of fulfilling the requirements of these pensioners? If anybody were to review the state of PPA investments of pension funds, it could be found that these were not put in a way serving pensioners directly.
The logical thinking and expectations are that the Agency would take care of pensioners through creating investment opportunities for them. It is also supposed to help both the Agency and the pensioners to earn profits through implementing various projects in healthcare and housing.
Thus the Agency can extend services to the pensioner by using his wealth and at the same time it can participate in serving society with vital projects, and this is with a guaranteed profit as long as it runs in the proper manner. Apart from this, investments in the construction of houses represent a quantum leap in both the investment projects as well as in serving pensioners at the same time.
The investment arm can also be extended to the university and the general education sector so as to make these organizations an avenue for serving these people.
Perhaps investments can be made in pensioners themselves, especially those who are still capable and who are willing to work. Thus, the Agency can realize investment dimensions in human resources on moral and material grounds to enliven their psychological life.
I am not opposing making any investments in the capital market. But it is necessary to diversify the investment portfolio, taking into consideration that some of those investments be made to extend them services in housing, healthcare and recreation centers at reasonable rates. These people are in dire need of such services and they cannot afford them elsewhere because of their low salaries that range from SR3000 to SR5000.
I hope that the Agency would bolster its investment projects into effective means to serve these people. Otherwise, it would meet the same fate of charity funds run for orphans. They keep on making investments but that does not help the orphans to get either clothes for the Eid or treatment while they are sick, despite the growth of the fund.