Fund for jobless ‘solid’
No worries about dip
No need to worry.
That assurance has come from the Minister of Social Security Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo after a recently-published actuarial review of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) showed that on the current track, the Unemployment Fund would be wiped out in two to ten years. The report indicated that “reserves could be depleted as soon as 2016 if the contribution rate remains at 1.5 per cent”.
But Byer-Suckoo told Barbados TODAY that the Fund was still “solid”.
She pointed out that the Actuarial Review showed that there was in fact money in the NIS, albeit in several different endowments like the Severance Payment Fund, the general National Insurance Fund and Unemployment Fund.
“There is money that they have invested and there is return on those investments and they have a very good-looking portfolio – billions of dollars in there. There is money in National Insurance,” the minister said.
Byer-Suckoo further suggested that now, as persons were being retrenched in both the public and private sectors, they were now drawing down on the Fund, much as they would with a rainy day account at a bank.
“If things continue as they are, with more people coming for unemployment money and less people putting money in, yeah, sure, eventually we will run out. Anytime that you are taking more out than you are putting in [the fund] will eventually dwindle. But that is not anticipated here, because when we look at the bigger picture, what is happening in Government, those other policies . . . that are going to generate jobs and with jobs you have more people earning, so you have more people paying back into the fund,” she said.
The minister told Barbados TODAY that while there was a dip now because of the current crisis, she expects that “it will take off again”.
“The policies that are in place, I have every confidence . . . will generate employment and thus will generate money back in the fund. [But] in terms of the money that we have in the Fund, the investment portfolios and in the fund itself, solid, solid, solid, solid.”