(Bloomberg) -- President Sebastian Pinera signed a bill into law late Friday allowing Chileans to withdraw retirement savings, following scenes of citizens lining up by the thousands outside pension fund offices.
People went to the offices to obtain a code needed to tap their funds, or simply to find out how much money they had in their accounts, according to interviews with local television stations.
A quick search to obtain a code from the website of the largest pension fund, AFP Provida, showed over 100,000 people trying to do the same process. Chile’s pension funds manage assets worth about $200 billion, and the bill approved by lawmakers yesterday allows people to take out 10% of their savings.
Read more: Chile Government Concedes Pension Defeat After Landmark Bill
The decision to formally ratify the reform seeks to “make easier and speed up the withdrawal of pension savings given the difficult economic and social situation that many families are going through,” the government said in a statement.
The long lines of people formed while much of Chile is still in a strict lockdown for the coronavirus. People need permits to leave home and police and troops patrol the streets checking on their papers.
“I call on people to act calmly, to respect the sanitary measures and check the instructions in place to avoid the spread of the virus,” Health Minister Enrique Paris said in response to the pension bill. Many didn’t heed his call.
(Updates with Pinera signing the bill into law)
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.