JIS News

Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has assured that collections held in trust by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) “are in good hands”.
Minister Simpson Miller, who was making her first contribution as Prime Minister to the 2006/07 Budget Debate in Gordon House today (May 9), was responding to statements made last week by Opposition Leader, Bruce Golding, who said that while he was in support of a consolidation of statutory deductions, he was not in favour of any move by the Government to divide the funds as it saw fit.
“The integrity of the National Insurance Fund (NIF) must be protected and the interests of contributors cannot be jeopardized,” Mrs. Simpson Miller told the House.
In the meanwhile, she indicated that, “the $1 billion to be utilized from the fund to assist small businesses would not be at the expense of the integrity of the NIF or to the detriment of the contributors”.
“I make that solemn commitment to the Jamaican Parliament and the Jamaican people. I want to assure the entire country that the people’s NIS collections are in good hands.I have charged my new Minister of Labour and Social Security to protect and grow the people’s money at all times,” she added.
Furthermore, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that the NIF was contributing to national development through significant investments in shares and equity in some of the most successful companies in Jamaica and developments such as Highway 2000, real estate and hotels, with 100 percent ownership of the El Greco Resort in Montego Bay.
She said the existence of an investment board has resulted in an accountable and transparent system for the management of NIS funds with the fund enjoying consistent growth averaging 18.5 percent annually with net assets of $42.6 billion.
Noting that there has been a “significant track record of providing significant increases in pension benefits to NIS contributors”, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the commitment to enhancing benefits to NIS contributors was also demonstrated with the introduction of the Pensioners Health Plan (NI/Gold) in 2003 and the $375 million provided to pensioners in the wake of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, among other things.
Mrs. Simpson Miller further stressed that the investment of $1 billion from the NIF for micro and small business credit was part of the strategic thinking of the board to participate in projects that have a significant developmental impact, specifically geared at economic growth and employment creation.

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