Peru Congress passes bill to let workers withdraw pension savings
PARACAS, Peru Dec 3 (Reuters) - Peru's opposition-controlled Congress passed legislation on Thursday that allows workers to withdraw 95.5 percent of their savings from the country's private pension funds immediately upon retirement.
President Ollanta Humala's government had urged lawmakers not to pass the measure, saying many Peruvians could end up without money in the last years of their lives.
The president of one of the private funds called the bill a hasty populist gesture ahead of 2016 elections that could deplete pensions and bore a hole in the budget.
However, all 66 lawmakers present in Peru's single-chamber Congress late on Thursday voted for the bill, including several members of the ruling party.
Supporters say Peruvians should have the freedom to manage their retirement savings as they wish once they turn 65.
Lawmakers are expected to override a veto from Humala.
Peru's private pension funds control the largest source of private investment in Peru. They now hold about $35 billion.
The funds have come under fire in recent months after posting losses and proposing a higher life expectancy for affiliates that would have led to smaller payouts.
The president of Peru's banking superintendency resigned last month ahead of a congressional vote to oust him. (Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Paul Tait)
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