Minister of Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle revealed yesterday that as much as $17 million in contributions are owed to the National Insurance Board (NIB) from employers who have failed to keep up to date with their employees’ contributions.
Rolle made the revelation during his contribution to the budget debate.
“NIB has pledged to step up its enforcement effort in 2019/2020,” he said.
“We want to pursue the non-compliant employers, especially those with large arrears.
“I just want to say that the last look I had at large employers who owed NIB, I think the amount was someplace between $14 million and $17 million owed to NIB by large companies.
“…Think of the number of employees that will not benefit because their employer did not make a contribution to NIB on their behalf.
“Think about the thousands of ordinary Bahamians whose funds may have been deducted, who were working with the view that their contribution had been paid, only to be told by NIB that the contribution was not received by NIB.
“Again, I urge individuals in this grouping to go to NIB to make the arrangements, to do the payments so that we can all be happily ever after.”
The issue with unpaid NIB contributions is not a new one.
In April, Rolle told reporters that the matter is “unfair and unacceptable and it is perhaps bordering on criminal”.
Non-payment of employee NIB contributions is an offense under the National Insurance Board Act, liable to a minimum of six months in prison or a fine of $1,000 or both, to a maximum of 12 months in prison, or a fine of $2,500 or both.
Rolle noted yesterday that while there are still millions owed, collections are improving thanks to the work by NIB’s compliance department.
He added that “preliminary unaudited figures show that contribution revenue intake was $283 million for 2018”.
“However, this must be juxtaposed against benefit payouts of $292 million in 2018,” he said.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications