An actuarial review of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) pension plan is underway, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said yesterday, adding that the government continues to determine the way forward on the multimillion-dollar liability.
The Free National Movement (FNM) government inherited the debt, which was part of the terms of the shareholders agreement between the government and Cable & Wireless Communications when BTC was sold.
The 2019/2020 budget makes a provision for $3 million to be put toward the unfunded BTC pension debt.
Turnquest could not say when the actuarial review might be completed.
“The BTC pension plan is currently undergoing an actuarial review,” said Turnquest. “Once that assessment is completed, we will be in a better position to determine the way forward.”
Until then, any BTC employee who has reached retirement is eligible for their pension. Those who opt for any voluntary separation packages (VSEPs) are also eligible to receive what is owed to them at retirement age.
BTC’s Chief Executive Officer Garfield Sinclair told Guardian Business on Friday that there could absolutely be more VSEPs coming for employees. “Is there a likelihood we engage in one again? Absolutely,” he stated.
Government could be the entity hardest hit by the VSEP process, as it is solely responsible for BTC employees’ pension liability.