Debate on Pensions Bill Continue in Senate in September

Story Highlights

  • Debate on the public sector pension reform Bills has been suspended in the Senate until it next meets in September, following a recess.
  • The Bills are: The Pensions (Public Service) Act, 2016; and The Constitution (Amendment) (Established Fund) (Payment of Pension) Act, 2016.

Debate on the public sector pension reform Bills has been suspended in the Senate until it next meets in September, following a recess.

This decision was made at the sitting of the Senate on Friday (July 28).

The Bills are: The Pensions (Public Service) Act, 2016; and The Constitution (Amendment) (Established Fund) (Payment of Pension) Act, 2016.

Leader of Opposition Business in the Upper House, Senator Mark Golding and Senators Dr. Floyd Morris and Lambert Brown requested that members be given adequate time to scrutinise the proposed amendments to the Bills and to make contributions where necessary.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith agreed after consultations with the relevant parties, including the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

She noted that while the parties are concerned that failure to take the Bill will be perceived as a lack of political will to move the issue forward, they are cognizant of the importance of seeking, as much as possible, bi-partisan support around the issues.

“We are delaying the Bill…in the interest of seeking bi-partisan support on the work that has been done, because we feel confident in the amendments that have been put forward and in their soundness. We are also confident in the position that was taken earlier that we could have proceeded with the Bill,” she said.

Senator Golding thanked Senator Johnson Smith for her efforts to get the Ministry of Finance on board, noting that he felt it was very important that the Senators on both sides get an opportunity to thoroughly examine the amendments.

“I have gone through them (amendments) during the course of the sitting in a preliminary way. There are a few things which I have pointed out to the technical team that need to be corrected,” he said.

The Pensions (Public Service) Act seeks to give effect to the proposed reform arrangements for the public sector pension scheme. The Bill establishes a defined benefit contributory scheme where all pensionable officers will contribute five per cent of their salary, while at the same time establishing a segregated fund for the contributions.

The Constitution (Amendment) (Established Fund) (Payment of Pension) Act is proposing to amend the Constitution to provide for the payment of pensions, gratuities and allowances from a pension fund, instead of the Consolidated Fund.

The Bills were passed in the House of Representatives on April 5 with 38 amendments.

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