JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles, is assuring Jamaicans that the National Insurance Fund (NIF) is being prudently managed.
Speaking yesterday (Sept. 22) in the House of Representatives, he informed that the total assets of the NIF as of August 31 was $56.7 billion, reflecting an increase of five per cent over 2007. This, he said, is despite the fact that the Fund continues to pay out more in benefits than it is collecting in contributions.
During the 2008/2009 fiscal year, the Fund paid out $8.5 billion in benefits while collecting $5.5 billion in contributions. “This gap had to be filled by earnings from investments. The desirable position is that contributions collected should at least be enough to meet the cost of benefits,” the Minister stated.
He was responding to recent comments made by Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, which he said, gave the impression that the NIF is not in a healthy state.
Mr. Charles noted that Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, having analysed data presented by the Fund’s actuaries, has committed to take the necessary steps to ensure its continued viability.
He said that in designing the new measures recommended by the actuarial report, the Government has tried to be as transparent as possible and to involve all stakeholders, including the opposition, in the discussions.
“The Prime Minister invited the Leader of the Opposition and her team to participate in the discussions with the actuaries, my Ministry, the Ministry of Finance (and the Public Service), and other stakeholders, in order to have consensus on the way forward,” he said.
“There was agreement in principle that strong measures have to be taken to protect the integrity and sustainability of the Fund. Coming out of these discussions, the actuaries have been asked to do some additional projects to better guide our decisions,” Minister Charles told the House.

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