EUROSAI. Magazine N24 - 2018

eurosai 96 Studies and other articles Despite being rightfully capable of recruiting subject matter experts as legal framework allowed it to do so, the Court could not invite experts for panels meetings because of insufficient budgetary resources. To overcome such constraint the audit team conducted a wide range of interviews with experts with different backgrounds in order to ensure that the Court considers perspectives of various entities involved in retirement policy. This has made possible for the Court to get an inclusive discussion as it has taken different viewpoints. However, despite a positive contribution of such approach, not being able to invite subject matters experts imbedded the Court’s ability to examine a number of retirement related issues. Possible wider effects on specific issues have not been evidenced because they needed closer examination if they are to be the basis for judging scheme success. This has included for example assessing projection assumptions and actuarial methods followed by the government to define limit of working lives extension. As a result, the Court has decided to narrow its scope of audit as it could not get material findings regarding these key issues.. 2. Putting Focus on material conclusions The Court has put focus on risks to public finance and on demonstrated how governance issues can impede the funds ability to face the increasing pressure on social funds resources. As a matter of fact, the Court concluded that the Tunisian Retirement System is threatened by Adequacy Concerns. The two pillars of the current retirement system in Tunisia are anticipated to be unable to ensure adequate retirement services for a growing number of Tunisian retirees resulting from ageing population. Fundamental to this trend have also been governance insufficiency of the two retirement funds. These two factors are the primary drivers underlying Social Security’s financial difficulties. As they are correlated, these two trends resulted to much more pressure on public finance as the government has been lately receiving many more budget requests from health services in order to keep up with the increasing gap between offer and demand for health services. Since 2011 the Government has been designing a program of reforms to help mitigate the potential liability to the state from the ageing population. The program has been informed by a substantial evidence base and recommendations of an actuarial study conducted with the involvement of workers and entrepreneurs unions. This study recommended extending working lives. However in the absence of reliable and independent actuarial studies on the scale of savings to be achieved by the government by expending working lives, the Court chose not to issue an opinion on this matter. In contrast, the Court conducted an enquiry into the reasons why pension funds have always been wasting funds in terms of raising contribution and allocating pensions. To influence the parliament and government opinions and decisions regarding coping with ageing population, the Court has demonstrated based on material evidence that the social funds are invited to seize opportunities for making savings through enhancing good governance and sound management. By taking steps towards improving governance, the government could save public finances and retirees from a great deal of pressure.