In the red

Opposition issues new NIS warning

An Opposition spokeswoman last night called for the true picture to be given of Barbados’ economic situation, while warning that the vital National Insurance Scheme (NIS) was already in the red.

As recently as last month, social security minister Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo sought to reassure Barbadians that there was no need to worry about the stability of the social security programme.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a recent productivity workshop, Byer-Suckoo had also promised that a detailed update on the state of the NIS and its ability to meet its obligations was yet to come, even as she dismissed any notion that the scheme was handing funds to Government.

“This notion that NIS pays the bills for Government, that the NIS provides funding for Government, is erroneous in that National Insurance may lend money to Government at very high rates, National Insurance doesn’t say, ‘here, you cannot afford it we will pay that bill’. National insurance may loan money to Government and national insurance is guaranteed in contract, a high return on investment when it lends money to Government.

“So what does that mean down the line for National Insurance and their liquidity and so on?  They are not at risk. It ensures they are not at risk in ensuring that loan agreement provides them with a sufficient return [and] the Government of Barbados does not default on its loans,” Byer-Suckoo assured at the time.

However, addressing a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) meeting at the George Lamming Primary School on Sunday night, economist Marsha Caddle warned that the NIS was currently not running a profit.

In fact, she warned that not only had the NIS over-extended itself by lending to Government the equivalent of 74 per cent of its assets, but in keeping with a recent International Monetary Fund report, “NIS expenditure began to exceed contributions in 2013”.

The Opposition spokeswoman also cautioned that NIS payments of pensions and other benefits will become more than contributions received from workers as of 2024.

Similar warnings were issued by the Opposition Shadow Minister of Labour and Social Security Dwight Sutherland last month.

Last night Caddle also took issue with the latest report from the Central Bank that unemployment fell to ten per cent for the four quarters ending in September last year.

The former economist at the Caribbean Development Bank, who is due to contest the next elections for the BLP in St Michael South Central, cautioned that the jobless numbers simply did not add up.

  “I, and people in St Michael South Central, can tell you that they might have kept their jobs, but if before they were working six days a week, they are now working two.

“So yes, they have a job, but what is the income?” she asked.

Caddle further argued that these underemployed Barbadians were still being counted among the employed, while “carrying home less than half the salary”.

She also pointed out that their responsibilities remained the same, despite the reduction in income.

“They don’t have less than half the children. They don’t have less than half the bills,” she said, while accusing the Central Bank’s administrators of “coming to us with these fairy numbers”.

The economist suggested that in order for Government to get a true picture of the employment situation locally, officials must visit the homes of ordinary Barbadians.

“Look at how people are living, listen to how people are living. Go among people and see what they have to eat, and what they don’t have to eat. That is how you will know what is happening in this country,” the Opposition candidate suggested.

12 Responses to In the red

  1. Greengiant February 20, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Yes, while that might be true the former BLP administration allowed a system to begin where between 2004 and 2008 about 20,000 or more persons were working in the construction sector with no contributions being deducted or the employer paying any NIS or PAYE contributions for these workers. Sadly even though this sector is under performing the problem still exists on a large scale. So don’t only tell us about the problems, tell us how you are going to address it. Solutions Barbados has started telling us how they will address issues.

  2. BaJan boy February 21, 2017 at 5:25 am

    @greengiant only the dummies like you would listen to losers” true saying birds of a feather flock together..

  3. Tony Webster February 21, 2017 at 6:09 am

    There is nothing more gross, more eggregious, than insulting a person’s intelligence….except, insulting all tax-paying citizens intelligence, as a group of “igrunts”!!

    Dear madam minister responsible for N.I.S.: If the justiification for lending N.I.S. funds…err…sorry… “INVESTING” N.i.S. funds, by way of loans to your dear friend, The Hon. minister of Finance, at “good” rates of interest…or even at “very high’ rates of interest…just HOW will the Honourable gentleman find the money to re-pay the prinicipal AND those VERY HIGH interest COSTS ? Might he TAX both principal AND interest, right out of us tax-payers backsides? Hmmm? Why not go for brokes, and INVEST at , say 15% ? 25% . Why Not?

    When you are not tooooo busy…you might also elucidate why the former chairman of the N.I.S. board, Mr. Tony Marshall, an experienced, sound, and respected banker-friend of mine…resigned his post and responsibilities. You ight also usefully busy yourself, when having a bowl of soup wid any friends over at Min. Finance, to ask them to bear in mind, effin them is soon to have their own bowls of soup with any Immminently Menacing Friends…to throw something “extra” into the “Grand Total for re-financing”, so that all such outstanding investments…might be paid back to the N.I.S. Yes…principal, PLUS interest.

    Swing and come again , ma’m…or just SWING. Go right ahead…put up your name for nomination.

  4. harry turnover February 21, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Esther Byer-Suckoo… tink people is idiots or wha ? YOU ADMITTED that the NIS is giving money to the say they are LOANS and all that GIBBERISH about high interest rates is pure SH8.
    If the ‘ loans ” are not being repaid even with those HIGH INTEREST RATES woman…they will be known as GIFTS.In other words woman..ya will be teking money from the NIS and giving to the GUVMENT….DISGUISED AS LOANS…cheese on bread woman.
    What you should have done instead of all that pretty talk was to state the amount of money LOAN to the Government and how much HAS BEEN REPAID AS OF NOW

  5. James Franks February 21, 2017 at 9:49 am

    The facts.
    Barbados is essentially broke a n d needs to rob Peter to pay Paul.
    IMF here we come !!

  6. Peter February 21, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I did NOT read this entire article as nothing reported is any different from what I already know. Greengiant, Arthur, Carson V Cadogan and Maureen. What do you honestly think of the New DLP leader in waiting Richard Sealy’s well buttered up election promises speech? He promises 14,000 jobs. Break that down How many? Where? doing what? Will they be paying NIS? Will their employers be contributing too? What guarantee we have that this IS going to happen? DLP – Destruction, Lies and Poverty.
    UPP – Washed UPP . Forget Solutions Barbados If their members are still in hiding then they are NOT brave nor transparent.

    • hcalndre February 21, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      Peter, is this the same Assfa that calls the radio program?

  7. Helicopter(8P) February 21, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Peter are you insinuating that some folk are actually hibernating in the Russia gully?

    • Peter February 21, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Fly over and see for yourself You name suggests you’re always high.

  8. hcalndre February 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    The lies and promises have started already, Dr. Byer-Suckoo, Richard Sealy and The Don. Dr Byer-Suckoo`s is too confusing, Richard Sealy going to have jobs falling like rain and the Don talking about more hotels going up in barbados. I read sometime ago that people were renting homes in Cuba because they were not enough hotel rooms, barbados have not reach that stage yet and they say that more hotels are going to be built. Dr. Byer-Suckoo says that the NIS money that she lends to the government is at high interest. Is that not unfair to Barbados when she knows that the country is broke, she may have to write of those loans and let the workers know from now that they may not receive any money when they retire.

  9. Sherlock Holmes. February 21, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    It is clear that pointing out the problems is very easy, however i need to hear from the Government in eager waiting what are the solutions to these myriad of problems. It is no use pointing them out, we need to hear how you are going to deal with this morass put forward the solutions then i maybe inclined to support you and please do not come with tired refrain of giving out ideas for others to capitalize on i need to hear serious discussion.

  10. Bajangal February 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Does the NIS produce audited financial statements and where can they be found?
    Last year they had 20,000 claims backlog and were claiming that the fund is sound now we are hearing a majority of the funds are lent to the government. What are the facts , we need the facts and the numbers! In the meantime , I mekking sure my private pension good .


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