Towards an Inclusive, Equitable and Sustainable National Pension System in Iraq

Publication Date:

April 30, 2024

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A pension system is at the heart of social protection. By ensuring income security for older persons and other vulnerable groups, it prevents poverty, reduces inequality, and facilitates consumption smoothing. A pension system also affects the working population’s labor market choices and has important fiscal implications. Iraq’s current pension system is highly fragmented, inequitable, and inefficient. First, it fails to provide adequate income protection to most of Iraqi’s old age population and other vulnerable groups, such as survivors and persons with disability. Second, the public sector pension is already putting substantial pressure on the budget and is potentially unsustainable given the projected acceleration of the total pension bill due to recent policy changes. Third, it sets an uneven playing field between the public and private sectors, contributing to the continued expansion of an already outsized civil service and holding back much-needed economic diversification and private sector growth. Thus, a comprehensive pension reform is urgently needed. Based on collaboration between the IMF, ILO and the World Bank this policy note aims to: 1) Provide an assessment of the existing public and private pension system across the four dimensions: fiscal sustainability; labor market implications; coverage; and adequacy of benefits. 2) Develop and propose options to adjust the pension system with a view to making it fiscally sustainable, more inclusive and adequate, and conducive to private sector development and labor market formalization. 3) Provide a basis to engage key stakeholders—including workers, employers organizations and the civil society—on strategies to achieve a more inclusive system, importantly by including workers in the informal economy, female workers, workers with disabilities, and other disadvantaged groups.


Analytical Notes No 2024/001





Publication Date:

April 30, 2024



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