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We’ve got this!

Minister says pressure on unemployment fund not new or insurmountable

Government is assuring Barbadians there is no crisis in the Unemployment Fund, even though it has admitted that higher than desirable joblessness has put it under financial pressure.

A day after reports surfaced that the Fund was in serious trouble, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler told Barbados TODAY that the Government and the National Insurance Board (NIB) have agreed on a temporary and mid-term solution to ease the payment pressures of the Fund and are executing that plan.

While he did not give details, sources close to the NIB told Barbados TODAY that Government plans to inject $12 milion over the next year to aid the fund which has reached as low as $6 million to $7 million.

Additionally, the National Insurance Scheme has reached agreement with the Barbados Employers’ Confederation that money from the Severance Fund would be diverted to the Unemployment Fund. However, that would first require parliamentary approval.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

“There is, therefore, no crisis at the Fund as is being touted,” Sinckler insisted, noting that Government has been in constant contact with the NIB on the matter through the Minister of Social Security and senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

“All parties have been working on a solution to the existing pressures by examining all of the options available to the Fund Manager, including a direct injection from Government to ensure the continuation of payments to recipients as provided for in the laws of Barbados.”

He added that the financial pressures on the Fund were neither new nor insurmountable.

“Government is, and has been fully aware, that as is normal during periods of higher than desirable unemployment in the country, the [Fund] normally experiences pressures of keeping pace with claims if the unemployment situation persists,” the minister pointed out.

Yesterday, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley said her Barbados Labour Party was ready to do all that was necessary and legal to help replenish the Fund, which she claimed would not have any money to pay out by the end of this month.

“Regrettably, this Government has continued its habit of carrying institutions to crisis levels before acting,” Mottley suggested.

She said that in October, and then again at the end of November last year, she warned the country that the Fund was in peril.

“The Government has known about this crisis for months and that this situation had to be resolved as a matter of urgency before 2015, especially if confidence is to be maintained in the NIB and our social security scheme,” she argued.

But Minister Sinckler today accused the BLP of not supporting suggested changes to the Fund’s rules, to ensure its future viability, when it faced similar financial pressures in the early 1990s.

“These changes were vehemently opposed by some in the country, including the then Barbados Labour Party which incidentally did not reverse any of the adjustments on attaining office and being there for 15 years,” the Minister of Finance said.


6 Responses to We’ve got this!

  1. Joel C. Payne
    Joel C. Payne January 7, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Anybody believe dat?

  2. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce January 7, 2015 at 5:24 am

    Just looking at the Sinc face can anyone believe a word he’s saying? All he seems to be doing is fulling up his guts at the tax payers expense and getting bigger day by day he needs to release the pressure from the air bag before he explode in that suit. All he good for is financing his stomach.

  3. Tony Webster January 7, 2015 at 5:51 am

    Since when, does any legitimate, law-abiding and “transparent” government, seek to bend (correction, break) the law of the land, and do violence to a cornerstone of how the various NIS funds are collected, segregated, and managed? Instead of standing up in Parliament and passing an amendment, we are redfuced to cootchy-cootchying with an employers association…who has neither authority; nor responsibility, to “cut-deals” like this? Is this some kind of new year’s joke, or an indication of just how low desperate desperate people will go?

  4. John Nicholls
    John Nicholls January 7, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Yet another crisis, but don’t worry everything is under control “we’ve got this “.And as usual back to the normal refrain “it was the blp ‘s fault. They didn’t do anything while in office to prevent theses types of things from happening. When if ever are these people going to take responcibility for anything?

  5. Harry Roberts January 7, 2015 at 6:55 am

    This Govt is unbelievable, they were aware of this situation 2 years ago and as is their wont did nothing about it until it became a crisis. “we got this” Right!!!
    Can the MOF of finance confirm that the NIS is owed a 1/2 Billion $ by Govt for contributions for Govt employees?

  6. Carl Harper January 7, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Since 2008, over 16,000 private sector workers and 3,500 public workers have lost their jobs, and have been adding further strain on the Unemployment Fund. The result of poor fiscal management and policies that resulted in this extended crisis.


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