BRASILIA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday said pension reform will be a priority of his government in the first half of 2019.
Bolsonaro, who will take office on Jan. 1, told reporters that he was ready to enact a law on the matter immediately, but acknowledged the legislative approval process has its own pace.
The unpopular cost-cutting measure, which aims to raise the minimum age of retirement to 65, was put together by the current government, but failed to pass Congress.
According to existing laws, men can apply for retirement benefits after working and paying taxes for 35 years; and women, after 30 years. Men can also retire by the age of 65 and women at 60 as long as they have contributed for at least 15 years.
Generous pensions are regarded as a main cause of the increasing public debt of the South American country.
Bolsonaro said he will consult with party leaders to build consensus on the measure before submitting the bill to lawmakers.
Among various pension reform changes, the minimum age requirement is the most important, said Bolsonaro, adding this could change depending on related negotiation.