Govt to pursue employers who fail to make NIB contributions for employees
The government intends to crackdown on business owners who have neglected to pay contributions to the National Insurance Board (NIB) for their employees, Minister of Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle said yesterday.
When asked by reporters outside Cabinet if the government intends to go after employers who collect NIB without making employee contributions, Rolle said, “Absolutely. That is so unfair and unacceptable [and] it is perhaps bordering on criminal.
“If I take your monies from you to make a contribution to the social security network and you get sick and suddenly find out, ‘Listen, my contributions were not paid’ then that’s an issue.
“What we say to every single employee though is that there is a means by which you can go to NIB and go online to see whether your contributions are being paid. So, don’t wait for NIB, just go there and find out what I need to do to ensure that my contributions that have been taken from me on a weekly basis are contributed to NIB.”
NIB’s 2016 annual report, which was tabled in the House of Assembly last year, revealed that NIB had a poor financial performance of the fund that year, which resulted in a near $20 million decline in investment income and the largest decrease since 2008 of $2.4 million in contribution income.
The report also showed that the organization had a deficit of more than $11 million in 2016.
When asked if the government expects a deficit for NIB this year, Rolle said, “I can’t speculate at the moment. I’m not saying what our accountants are saying. I don’t suspect that there will be a deficit. What I do know though is that our benefits are outstripping our contributions and we have to look at what we need to do to bring that balance back to NIB so that everyone can get the required social security services that’s needed from NIB.”
He said the organization gives out more in benefits than it receives in contributions.
Rolle suggested, based on the NIB’s current path, it is likely that it will run out of funding within the next 10 years.
“I think our actuary would have suggested 10 years from now,” he said.
“I can’t remember what the drop-dead date is but again we’re not a money-making institute.”
The minister added: “I don’t know that we will ever run out of funding. What I do know is if our contributions are not being equal to our benefits only two things can happen: either we can ask you to increase your contributions so we can pay your benefits or we have to decrease your benefits to become equal to your contributions.”
In 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report that indicated that the current policies set in place at NIB would not allow for the fund’s survival and its reserves would be “depleted by 2029”.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice