Straw vendors who fail to pay NIB could be prosecuted
The National Insurance Board (NIB) plans to press charges early next year against delinquent straw vendors who have failed to enter into payment plans with the agency for contributions which in some cases are 10 years overdue, according to an official.
So far only 129 out of 626 straw vendors registered with the board have entered into agreements for payment of contributions due in 2010 and earlier years, said Greg Collie, senior manager of compliance at NIB.
A little more than half of the registered straw vendors — at least 323 of them — were up to date on contributions for 2011.
They must meet this requirement or else they would not be allowed to sell their wares at the new straw market on Bay Street once the $12 million facility opens, officials have said.
Collie said vendors have been steadily trickling into the agency to sort out their files with NIB.
“We are making tremendous progress,” he said. “Quite a number of straw vendors have come in and made arrangements to regularize their accounts, particularly for 2011.
“They have to pay, as the prime minister indicated, to get into the market. They are paying up for 2011 and making arrangements to settle their arrears as well.
“Quite a bit of them came in yesterday (Monday), over 50, and quite a number came in today (Tuesday) to bring current payments up to date.
“Based on the figures given to me, at least 323 of them would have paid at least for 2011 and that’s out of 626 vendors on our database. About 129 of them made arrangements for installment agreements. All of the 2011 (contributions) have to be paid
in full; any agreement would cover 2010 and back years.”
Collie added that some outstanding payments “go back 10 years; some maybe even more”.“As for previous arrears NIB will do everything necessary to ensure that those [contributions are collected],” Collie said.
“We have a number of cases being prepared. I couldn’t say if any of them have gone [to court] yet as self employed [defendants].
“Those who have refused to come in to address their arrears, we would have filed something with [the] magistrates court. Within the early part of next year we will (try) to have them before the courts.”
In order to receive stalls in the new straw market the vendors also need to have current business licenses.
Collie said NIB would have to provide a letter to the Business License Unit showing that a vendor is in good standing with the agency before a new license is issued.