Workers Urged to Adequately Prepare for Retirement

Photo: Donald De La Haye Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, addresses the Ministry’s retirees ceremony held on Wednesday (March 15) at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, has underscored the need for workers to prepare for retirement by making adequate pension arrangements.
  • The Permanent Secretary said it is “heart-rending and distressing” to see retirees unable to live comfortably in their advanced years “because the value of their pension is just not worth it”.
  • He informed that the Ministry, over the last few years, has been helping to prepare employees for retirement “because we would like to know that when you leave, you can live comfortably for the rest of your lives”.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, has underscored the need for workers to prepare for retirement by making adequate pension arrangements.

This, he said, is important, particularly in light of the increase in average life expectancy, with persons living as many as 25 years after retiring.

“Planning for retirement… is something we have to take on board seriously,” Mr. Stanberry noted.

He was speaking at a special recognition ceremony for 31 of the Ministry’s retirees held on Wednesday (March 15) at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

The Permanent Secretary said it is “heart-rending and distressing” to see retirees unable to live comfortably in their advanced years “because the value of their pension is just not worth it”.

He noted that, as a result, the quality of life of the retiree “goes down considerably”.

He informed that the Ministry, over the last few years, has been helping to prepare employees for retirement “because we would like to know that when you leave, you can live comfortably for the rest of your lives”.

He said that measures now under way to improve the pension system are expected to yield positive outcomes in order “(to) ensure that public servants can retire in dignity”.

Director of the Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor the Most Hon. Denise Eldemire-Shearer, who was the guest speaker at the function, noted that 66 per cent of Jamaican retirees do not currently get a pension.

She described as “worrying”, a recent survey, which indicated that only 16.6 per cent of working Jamaicans had made National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions up to 2016.

The figure, she noted, is marginally greater than the percentage of contributors when the scheme was introduced in 1966, but pointed out that the population at the time was 1.2 million, which has since grown to three million.

“We, as a people living in this country, have not understood the seriousness of (having) a pension. Because (many persons) are going to live 20 to 25 years in retirement, you are going to need an income. So the issue of pension is one that we do have to face… and think of… and I would urge you to (make arrangements to) get everything you are entitled to,” said Professor Eldemire-Shearer.

The 31 retirees of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, were recognised for service ranging from eight to 40 years.

JIS Social