The Senate, on Friday (Oct. 21), passed amendments to the National Insurance Act, during its sitting at Gordon House.
The Bill, which was unanimously passed without further revisions, follows the House of Representatives’ approval of the amendments in September.
This now enables the Government to administer timely adjustments of National Insurance Scheme (NIS) benefits for pensioners and other beneficiaries.
A recent evaluation proposed that the NIS structure be reviewed every three years, down from the five years as stipulated by law.
Under the new regime, effective evaluation and analysis will be conducted frequently to ascertain the NIS’ fiscal state. This, in order to ensure its long term sustainability and capability to provide ongoing substantial benefits.
Leader of Government Business in the Upper House, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, who piloted the Bill during last Friday’s sitting, said the NIS was an “important part” of Jamaica’s social safety net, and assured that weaknesses identified in its structure would be corrected.
“Shortening the review period will ensure closer monitoring of the Fund; enable assessment of the reform measures, as they are undertaken; provide a better opportunity to identify the need for interventions; and provide greater transparency and accountability,” she outlined.
Opposition Senator, Floyd Morris, who supported the Bill, said the NIS was among several key institutions, established since Independence in 1962, that “have served Jamaica well.”
The NIS, which is governed under the National Insurance Act, is administered as a contributory scheme.
It is financed by the National Insurance Fund (NIF) and provides several benefits. These include: financial protection to contributors and their families against loss of income arising from injury on the job, incapacity, retirement and the death of the insured.