NIS scare

Seniors worry about the stability of their pensions

The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) could face serious financial problems and challenges to meet pension payments by the year 2067 – or even earlier – if the current trend of an ageing population continues, Minister of Social Security Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo Friday revealed.

The minister made the disclosure to Barbados TODAY even as she sought to ease the fears of senior citizens who are worried that their pensions are being placed in jeopardy by the NIS’ continued funding of Government programmes.

“The fact that Barbados is an ageing population, our retirees and pensioners will live longer and at the other end the younger persons who would be earning and contributing there are less. At this point it is not a concern, but if the trend continues we could see that in another 50 years, or maybe even less, there would be a challenge in the balance in persons contributing and persons receiving benefits, mainly the pension benefits,” Byer-Suckoo said.

The Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) said it was “very much concerned” about the stability of the NIS and the safety of pensions, and it was keeping a close eye on the scheme.

Its fears are driven by the NIS’ financing of the Freundel Stuart administration’s social programmes.

The scheme last year contributed $123 million to Government’s financing needs, according to the Central Bank of Barbados report for 2016.

BARP President Ed Bushell told Barbados TODAY he took some comfort from the minister’s assurance that the NIS was stable and there was no need for worry.

However, it appeared he was not entirely convinced, neither were his members who continue to be worried.    

“Pensioners are very much concerned. But we listen to the Government authorities who say that, ‘don’t worry about it’, and that they are fully funded. And we rely on them to some extent, but we are concerned,” Bushell stressed.

“We feel that the NIS funds are there for a specific purpose and they should not be used to fund Government’s day-to-day activities,” he stated, adding that the organization, which champions the well-being of Barbadians aged 50 or over, had previously raised its concerns about the stability of the NIS to Government.

“We are watching it very, very carefully. You have to remember when you are 20 you have a chance to recover if you have a financial loss. If you are 60 or 70 your chance of recovery is very much diminished. So if you lose funds at age 70, you are not working, you are on a fixed pension, unless you get some investment opportunity you are not going to recover. So we got to watch that very, very carefully,” Bushell said.

However, Byer-Suckoo told Barbados TODAY while she understood the pensioners’ concern, and even though the level of funding provided to the administration by the NIS was not ideal, Government had never defaulted on its payments.

“The investment in Government has not proven to be unsatisfactory. Government has paid its debt. It lends to Government at a very high rate so the rate of returns turns out to be more than if we were investing overseas.

“So while on paper it is not the ideal circumstances, we have extenuating circumstances and Government does need to borrow, and it is safer for Government to perhaps borrow from the National Insurance and the National Insurance ensures that the interest rate and the rates of return it gets from Government is actually high,” the minister explained, emphasizing that the scheme, which will celebrate 50 years this year, was not in danger of running out of funds any time soon.

The 15th actuarial review of the NIS is almost completed and will be released soon, when more details on its financial state will be made available and discussed.

Byer-Suckoo said the NIS continued “to serve the purpose for which it was designed and it continues to be managed well”.

BARP, which boasts membership of approximately 40,000, has reported a drop in the number of new members this year.

The non-profit organization currently welcomes about 175 new members monthly, down from 270 previously, according to Bushell.

“We are investigating what is the reason for that, but we realized that the number of people who are becoming 50 might be lessening. So we are trying to get the statistics to see if that is the major cause
of the reduction in the new members,” Bushell said.

18 Responses to NIS scare

  1. Khati D
    Khati D'Souza April 8, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Only in Barbados wicked people in high places can get away and are not being brought to justice for corruption ……but….THERE IS A GOD. And a curse from the oppressed tongue : what dont meet you will meet your children or your children children and your generation be cursed forever in this life…. THE WORLD WILL HEAR MY STORY, I AM NOT AFRAID TO TALK.

  2. Che Anika Percell
    Che Anika Percell April 8, 2017 at 5:33 am


  3. Shanika Roberts Odle
    Shanika Roberts Odle April 8, 2017 at 5:38 am

    So it is the ageing population… and not the millions of dollars that you and your cronies “borrowing” for things unknown and unseen. Woman you one believes a word out your mouth

  4. Sophia Branch
    Sophia Branch April 8, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Wanna coming out one by one everyday looka now it’s nis which ya all borrow the money

  5. Lynda Bonnett
    Lynda Bonnett April 8, 2017 at 6:04 am

    I want my frigging money,since 2015 I’m waiting

  6. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd April 8, 2017 at 6:33 am


  7. Tony Webster April 8, 2017 at 6:42 am

    ONLY $123 million handed over to govenment last year? What for? DEM built a new Port? New Airport?

    Cha man…dat was only a short-term “accomodation” thing…you cud now tell us that Government long repay that money. Right?

    When N.I.S eventually bus’…you cud blame people for living long; you cud also blame young people…for NOt having as many children. However, DO NOT ask why young people are not raising as many children. They might just ask you if you born youself …last month, and doan yet appreciate that young families need jobs, in order to feed, house, and clothe their children, and effin thing’s are really “brown”, dem puts the brakes on “percolating”.. It’s new concept called “cause and effect”…and while 99.9% of educated Bajans understand it well…some clueless folks, evidenly yet need to come to grips with it.
    Yes, “cause and effect” syndrome, occasionally affects states…like every five years. Verily.

    • Jennifer April 8, 2017 at 7:52 am

      2067??????????????? Now you don’t worry that LITTLE head of yours. Things will not last that long. What you are describing dear is what this 2 horn beast system set up here in Bim has done. Mind you it must be implemented in order to have any engagement in that big red world out there. You produce the problems and then give the solutions thereby carefully manipulating the minds of the masses as they do the grass hopper dance from one HORN to the other. All of this living long nonsense being blamed for NIS issues is just as nonsensical as green houses gases being blamed for climate change. What a hoax. While you lot skimming off the grease.

      • Peter April 8, 2017 at 6:36 pm

        Don’t worry Jenny my dear, You and I will be having a wonky wonky . tome in hell. I’m sure St. Peter won’t mind. Ha… Ha… Haaaa….

  8. harry turnover April 8, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Byer…you blaming the AGING population ? when EVERYBODY can see that WUNNA teking money from the NIS is what is going to deplete the NIS funds before 2067 when you and me and nuff odders gine be long DEAD before 2067.
    left the people money getting on as though everybody gine be old by 2067.
    123 million last year and another 123 million OR MORE this year and what about the other 100 million + the previous years ?…maybe it is close to I BILLION…..that would have been ENOUGH funds with the contributions to last another 50 years… you can tell that to wunna YARDFOWLS and PALING COCKS….DEM would believe that BULSH8.

  9. Leroy April 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

    That is 50 years away, so many metrics can and will change by then, anyhow, the biggest threat to the NIS funds are not aging population but the borrowing of Gov, simple as that, anyone who says or believes otherwise is an IDIOT. You must speak to that and stop telling us to look over there when you know full-well what is the problem.

  10. Melvin Skeete April 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Many of you do not understand the issue. Its all about keeping the fund funded by workers coming in the system, and those workers must be young people. Think man, don’t just see everything from a narrow political position.

    • Jennifer April 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      @Melvin – So explain about the young workers funding the system??????????????? Enlighten us please.

  11. Mikey April 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    It has to run out between 2037 and 2047 for me to have any worries. Ms. Byer-Sukoo-Carter I want you to know that I am not worried . The people who dip their hands into the Fund can try to dry it up before those years and then I will have cause to be concerned.

  12. DE April 9, 2017 at 12:31 am

    These Governments need to stop jucking they hands in the National Insurance money and then cant put it back. All they do with the money is give it away, by investing in a lot of dead projects.
    Who suffer in the end, the poor persons who suck salt to put that money there.
    I wonder when they go to church what they tell the Lord when they are praying, if they do pray at all.

  13. DE April 9, 2017 at 12:57 am

    Melvin Skeete, I don’t think you understand the issue, it has nothing to do with the young workers. The National Insurance deduction is like you putting money on your bank account every pay day, but if you keep withdrawing from the account and cannot put back any funds to the account, tell me what will happen to your account. The Government is suppose to take a percentage of the funds and invest it, the returns from the investment will go back into the National Insurance Scheme. At present large sums are being withdrawn and nothing is going back in. So it is no seen from a narrow political position. that is simple arithmetic.

  14. Cjwilliams April 10, 2017 at 10:17 am

    My country has niw becomea jokey place
    Cud dear an aging population and tbe young people deading by the gun fast.
    The Minister knows she wont be around to see all. The mo ey gone and the Nis dead.
    People wake up keep your eyes open and call dem to account. No more lending or taking up

  15. Helicopter(8P) April 11, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Taking funds from the National Insurance Service reminds me of a boy in school who coggs or cheated by looking on another pupil’s test sheet paper for answers.


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