Gov’t committed to pension reform – Williams


State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Senator Arthur Williams, has re-emphasised the Government’s commitment to pension reform.
“The Government continues to be quite clear on the need for reform there may be deficiencies in the current system, but we are committed to ensuring that the reform takes place,” Senator Williams said at this morning’s (November 11) pensions seminar, which was hosted by the Ministry in collaboration with the Government of Chile at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
He noted that the reform process is being done in phases due to the complexity of the issues involved.
He said further that in the case of the public sector pension reform, which was being undertaken through assistance from the World Bank, the Government faces the challenge of finding the most feasible reform option, which will ensure that the pensioner is adequately provided for, while at the same time, ensuring that the reform option does not place any additional burden on the country’s budget.”
According to the State Minister, all options have to be examined, as there was no one model for public sector pension reform. He cited, for example, that the United Kingdom has been undergoing pension reform for many years, and still has not completed that process, while Sweden took 20 years to fully implement its revised system.
“It is anticipated that after any pension reforms in Jamaica, whatever options are chosen, whether in the public, private or national level, the regulatory framework will be sufficiently strengthened to monitor pension arrangements it is also anticipated that the population will be better educated about pensions and any option undertaken by the Government,” he said.
Senator Williams assured that the Government would be striving for full transparency in the system.
“One of the ultimate goals of pension reforms is to adequately provide for pensioners in their retirement and so it is hoped that the arrangements that are in place to provide income for the elderly will improve the quality of life. At the very least, the product of any reform should not make them any worse off,” he stated.
In the case of the public sector, the State Minister said the implementation of comprehensive reforms would lead to the sustainability of the system and a more effective administration of the pension process.
He pointed out that while there are over 30 pieces of legislation that set out the policy for public sector pensions, from as far back as 1904, the legislative framework of public sector pension systems was “unwieldy and in many cases inconsistent” and the government sees the need for a more comprehensive approach to reform.
The seminar titled: ‘The Evolution of the Chilean Pensions system and the lessons learnt,’ was addressed by Chilean Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency, Alfredo Garcia, with a special presentation on the pension reform system in Chile, by General Director for Regulations, Luis Figueroa de la Barra.

JIS Social