Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, says debate on a Bill that seeks to establish a contributory pension scheme in the public sector is set to begin in the House of Representatives Wednesday (March 15).
The legislation seeks to, among other things, make it mandatory for all pensionable officers to contribute five per cent of their basic salary towards their pension. It will also improve the actuarial sustainability and strengthen the governance of the scheme.
“Most of the civil service, as we know it, is actually paying four per cent already… but there are other sectors, in particular the teachers, who do not pay anything at all; and the police, who pay a nominal 1.25 per cent,” Minister Shaw noted.
He was opening the 2017/18 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Thursday (March 9).
Minister Shaw said that for civil servants, who are not accustomed to having pension contributions being deducted from their salary, the Government is exploring the possibility of phasing in the process.
The Bill will also seek to gradually increase the retirement age by five years to age 65; and harmonise the legislation governing public-sector pensions in a single statute, while repealing several enactments that previously dealt with pensions.
Minister Shaw, in the meantime, said the Public Employees Pensions Administration System (PEPAS) ‘Go-Live’ project is scheduled for the first quarter of financial year 2017/18.
“It is anticipated that this will modernise the pension system and allow retiring public servants to get their pension benefits on a timely basis,” he said.