Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says reform of the public sector pension system is critical to development and for government to enter into any new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He was addressing a cocktail reception held Sunday April 22 at the Half Moon Royal Pavilion in Montego Bay, as part of a conference organised jointly by the Caribbean Actuarial Association and the International Pension and Employee Benefits Lawyers Association.
A Joint Select Committee of Parliament is examining a Green Paper on pension reform, which was developed by the Government of Jamaica with technical assistance from the World Bank.
Among the recommendations are the establishment of a contributory pension scheme and that, groups such as teachers, police and nurses, be asked to contribute five per cent of their salaries.
Submissions from public sector employees, various actuarial stakeholder groups, and the broader private sector, are now being considered, while the discussion between government and the public sector workers and their unions continue.
According to Minister Golding, the adjustment is unavoidable, as the government addresses wider fiscal and debt imperatives. This, he said, will necessitate “a difficult and delicate balancing act” and will require “significant goodwill and sacrifice on the part of all stakeholders”.
He argued that “there is no escaping tight fiscal management, via a difficult combination of expenditure curtailment and enhanced revenue inflows, which will allow the country to continue having access to multilateral sources of finance, supplemented by access to the private capital markets where necessary”.
The conference, which takes place from April 22 to 24, is being held under the theme: ‘Building Bridges: Connecting Law, Regulation and Actuarial Practices’.
Delegates from countries such as the Caribbean, North America, the United Kingdom, Argentina, the Netherlands, and Australia, are representing private businesses, international organisations, educational institutions, and government bodies and regulators.
By Bryan Miller, JIS Reporter