Sinckler: NIS safe

Fund not in trouble, says Minister of Finance

Barbadians are being assured that the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) remains viable, with assets of approximately $4.7 billion up to the end of last year.

Armed with statistics, a fiery Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler Tuesday morning sought to debunk any notion that the fund was in danger of being depleted, pointing out that it was instead raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in investment income and contributions each year, despite the hundreds of millions it was also paying out.

The total benefits paid out by the social security scheme reached $637.8 million at the end of 2016, up from the $49,227 when the fund started in 1967, and the $238.8 million reached in the year 2000, the minister said.

At the same time, Sinckler said in 1967 short-term contribution income to the fund was $2.7 million, rising to $300 million by 2000 and $527 million by the end of last year.

Meanwhile, investment income to the fund moved from $24,905 when it first started to $87 million by the year 2000, up to $289.6 million by the end of last year.

Sinckler said the growth of the fund over the 50-year period proved that it was “viable, can continue to meet its obligations well into the future, is not broke or has run out
of money or is about to close down and leave pensioners in the lurch.

“I want to make the point that by any yardstick of measure, by any series of analysis, by any casual glance . . . that we have a substantial social security scheme in Barbados that, based on both previous and current actuarial reviews, it is a viable scheme,” the Minister of Finance told fellow parliamentarians.

Sinckler, who was leading off debate on the amendment to the National Insurance and Social Security Bill 2017 in Parliament Tuesday morning, said at the end of last year the fund had recorded a total of 63,391 short-term claims, up from the 3,073 in 1967.

Sickness benefits that were paid out by the NIS, he said, rose from $48,000 in 1967 to $19.8 million in the year 2000, and reached $24.2 million by the end last year.

In the year 2000 there were 33,539 pensioners and by the end of last year there were 42,000 pensioners benefiting from the scheme, he said.

Describing the growth of the NIS fund as impressive and substantial, Sinckler said this growth should be attributed to those who had the foresight to establish the scheme in the first place, good leadership, and smart and conservative investments.

“I think that when we look at what we have in front of us is a fund that is well capitalized, that even in spite of the challenging economic times, continues to meet its actuarial requirements, but is not devoid of challenges,” Sinckler said.

He said Government was aware there were some areas on which the authorities should keep a close watch in order to ensure the fund’s viability. Those areas, he said, included demographic changes, lower birth rate, economic growth rate linked to unemployment, and the quality of investments.

Also pointing out that he was aware of the substantial investment of the fund in Government papers, Sinckler gave the assurance that “if at any time such investments come under strain because of things happening in our economy and society the Government of Barbados will step in to ensure that our NIS remains a viable entity contributing to the development of our society”.

He also gave the assurance that Government had no intention of lowering the rates of benefits being paid out by the fund.

It was just last week that the minister responsible for the NIS, Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo complained at a safety and productivity workshop sponsored by her ministry that sickness claims submitted by workers were eating into the funds held by the scheme at a rate of over $50 million per annum.

She warned then that if the number of claims continued to increase, Government may have to start to talk in terms of increasing the premiums.

In April, Byer-Suckoo had warned that the NIS could face serious financial problems and challenges to meet pension payments no later than the year 2067 if the current trend of an ageing population continued.

marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb

34 Responses to Sinckler: NIS safe

  1. Angel Maria
    Angel Maria July 12, 2017 at 12:01 am

    The Father of Lies

    Reply
  2. Pullhead Davis
    Pullhead Davis July 12, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Unfortunately if chris told me that the sky is blue i wont believe he told so much lies i cant believe nothing the liemaster says

    Reply
  3. Shawn Pablo
    Shawn Pablo July 12, 2017 at 12:44 am

    prove it

    Reply
  4. Paulette Noel
    Paulette Noel July 12, 2017 at 1:25 am

    I sick of you now

    Reply
  5. Michael Turton
    Michael Turton July 12, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Caribbean terrorism……..taxes

    Reply
  6. Angela Griffith
    Angela Griffith July 12, 2017 at 4:25 am

    People stll cannot get there sick money

    Reply
  7. Doreen Waithe
    Doreen Waithe July 12, 2017 at 5:23 am

    I want my 650 to buy school clothes

    Reply
  8. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd July 12, 2017 at 5:38 am

    CHRIS YOU

    Reply
  9. Nikki Bayley
    Nikki Bayley July 12, 2017 at 6:01 am

    So where are the financial statements?

    Reply
  10. Seth St John
    Seth St John July 12, 2017 at 6:05 am

    And now im worried.

    Reply
  11. Marilyn C Fields
    Marilyn C Fields July 12, 2017 at 6:09 am

    It will remain safe until you and your boss wake up from a dream and an epiphany that your world will be coming to end soon..then you will both go on a spending spree

    Reply
  12. Jack Hanma
    Jack Hanma July 12, 2017 at 6:22 am

    That’s not what ester said……

    Reply
  13. chris hill July 12, 2017 at 6:27 am

    man you cant trick me. Sinc;er you and your cronies have raped the fund and it now is full of government paper that you will never repay, right now you have changed the interest payment on ythe gov paper that the NIS holds. Get on the real world program and stop what u smoking.

    Reply
  14. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn July 12, 2017 at 6:45 am

    I don’t trust anything that this man says.

    Reply
    • Roger Headley July 12, 2017 at 6:55 am

      And rightly so

      Reply
  15. fedup July 12, 2017 at 6:58 am

    It is July 12. NIS pension date was July 10. On July 11 I was told that my cheque has not been cut yet and they have no idea when it will be cut. What the hell is going on?

    Reply
  16. Duane Burke
    Duane Burke July 12, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Where is the actuarial report that is overdue?

    Reply
  17. Lauraine Clarke
    Lauraine Clarke July 12, 2017 at 7:05 am

    Chris are you sure,Esther Byer-Suckoo say it will only last a couple more years ,so who is lying,or who is telling lies on the NIS.

    Reply
  18. Jamar Webster
    Jamar Webster July 12, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Well send me my nis cheque

    Reply
  19. Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey
    Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey July 12, 2017 at 8:17 am

    He’s Not the PM he’s the MOF. But like the rest of Bim would agree, there backs wouldn’t be good enough.

    Reply
  20. Errol Rayside
    Errol Rayside July 12, 2017 at 8:19 am

    parasitic political class.

    Reply
  21. Noel Jones
    Noel Jones July 12, 2017 at 8:20 am

    He is the PM sarcastically soeaking

    Reply
  22. Noel Jones
    Noel Jones July 12, 2017 at 8:23 am

    We are in trouble now ,no NIS ,in two or three months story change ,Chris mouth turn ,will be saying NIS break

    Reply
  23. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba July 12, 2017 at 8:24 am

    AH FIERY MINISTER OF FINANCE, THAT SHOULD READ, A FIERY SERPENT OF FINANCE, STUPESSSSSSSSSSSS

    Reply
  24. Hobbs Pauline
    Hobbs Pauline July 12, 2017 at 8:41 am

    i want my 6.50 to help pay my bills.

    Reply
  25. Caroline Clarke
    Caroline Clarke July 12, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Like he said everything else was till all hell break loose

    Reply
  26. Ashley Griffith
    Ashley Griffith July 12, 2017 at 9:57 am

    He is actually the PM not honourably but he is

    Reply
  27. Janette Reifer
    Janette Reifer July 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

    6 6 6

    Reply
  28. Tony Webster July 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Hmmm…cud it be that ” a mistake mek”? If Hook Lyne and Sinking is both truthful and correct , we perhaps din need a N.I.S at all! Deductions and contributions could have been passed into the safe hands of the central government, and “invested” in the Consolidated Fund at a really, really, good rate of interest, rather than bothering to segregate them from fiscal misadventures or pressing Ministerial requirements.

    Reply
  29. Milli Watt July 12, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    where my money is then Minister

    Reply

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