Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is encouraging Jamaicans to contribute to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), noting that it provides an array of benefits and is also an important vehicle for investing for the future.
The Minister was speaking Thursday (April 13), at an Information and Communications Technology (ICT)/Manufacturing/Tourism Labour Forum held at the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay.
He noted that among the benefits provided under the NIS are funeral grants, employment injury benefits, maternity leave for domestic workers, and health insurance for pensioners. “Persons need to take advantage of the scheme as it is not a tax, but a meaningful investment in the future,” he stated.
He urged participants in the forum to support the Ministry’s “campaign to promote this culture of savings in the Jamaican society. We need to see more persons registering with the NIS, who are in the informal sector and those who are professionals.”
Turning to labour matters, Minister Kellier said the government is committed to the Decent Work Agenda, in keeping with the fundamental principles of the International Labour Organization (ILO). “We are also resolute in the fight against child labour and human trafficking, in keeping with international agreements,” he stated.
The Minister, in the meantime, endorsed the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO)-organised forum as an avenue for dialogue on productivity issues. “It is imperative that we have consensus among all partners – government, employers, and workers. I want to thank JAMPRO for facilitating this interaction; it is necessary, it is important and you have the Ministry’s commitment to improving processes and enacting legislation that will enhance and advance the industrial life of this country,” he stated.
He noted that with the return of the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC) to his Ministry, he will be working to promote and strengthen the work of the entity to ensure greater efficiencies at all levels and in all sectors of the economy and called on representatives of stakeholder groups in attendance “to become part of this mission to improve and strengthen Jamaica’s productivity levels.”
Stressing the government’s focus for job creation, he said that “the long-term goal is to create a workforce that is ready, responsive, productive and competitive worldwide and is trained, certified and flexible in terms of the dynamics of the labour market.”
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter