Vietnam's social insurance debt is about 7.4 trillion VND (352.3 million USD), making it difficult for the fund to remain viable and provide social security, officials said at an online discussion held on the Government website on May 28.

Tran Dinh Lieu, Head of the Vietnam Social Insurance Collection Board, said as many as 300,000 firms were behind in paying social insurance premiums for their workers.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, about 16 million workers should have mandatory social insurance. However, only 11 million workers have registered to join the compulsory social insurance scheme.

"The imbalance between collections and payments makes the fund unsustainable in the long term," Lieu said.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that if nothing is done to correct the situation, the Vietnam Social Security Fund could experience deficits by 2021 and run out of funds by 2034.

Lieu noted that since it was implemented in 2007, the Law on Social Insurance has not been effective in encouraging more workers to join the social insurance scheme and allow social insurance agencies more authority to punish violators.

Speaking at a meeting earlier in the week organised by the National Assembly Committee on Social Affairs, vice chairperson of the committee, Bui Sy Loi, said the goal of the revised Law on Social Insurance was to encourage workers in the non-formal sectors to participate in social insurance and by 2020, half of the labour force would participate in social insurance.

The revised Social Insurance Law would also require that social insurance payment be calculated based on the workers' main salary and allowances as stated in the labour contract.

It would also enhance the role of social insurance agencies to monitor, inspect and punish violators.

According to Lieu, only 900 out of 6,000 employers who have violated social insurance policies have been hit with administrative fines.-VNA