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LatinNews Daily - 17 February 2021

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In brief: Chile gov’t warns against further pension withdrawals

* Chile’s Finance Minister Rodrigo Cerda has said that allowing individuals to make a further withdrawal from their pension pots to help them overcome the financial difficulties they face due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic will not be beneficial for the country’s poor. Chile’s congress has already twice passed legislation allowing individuals to withdraw up to 10% of their pensions each time to tide them over during the economic crisis produced by the pandemic. But as restrictions imposed to contain Covid-19 continue to affect people’s ability to work, legislators have tabled a new initiative that would allow individuals to withdraw a further 10% of their pensions. The government led by President Sebastián Piñera has consistently opposed the pension withdrawals on the grounds that it jeopardises the provision of future pensions. Some US$16bn have been withdrawn from the pension system and the government says that 2m people now do not have enough funds left in their pensions. “The most vulnerable don’t have any funds left in their pensions, we think this policy is regressive and not focused on helping the poorest”, Cerda commented.