Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Insurance Board (NIB) is anticipating a 30 percent drop in its budgeted contributions, NIB Director Dr. Nicola Virgil-Rolle revealed yesterday.
Virgil-Rolle said NIB typically takes in $290 million in contributions a year, but expects to only collect approximately 70 percent of that amount.
She noted, however, that the fund is sound and in a position to remain solvent.
“The national insurance fund has been built up over generations. Our total investments stand at $1.5 billion and our reserves, which encompass that, stand at $1.7 billion. We expended just over $300 million last year and that is a typical year for us and we know that that will expand tremendously this year,” Virgill-Rolle said during the nationally televised Ministry of Public Service and National Insurance Minister’s Report.
“And our contribution income is generally around $290 million, but given the pandemic and loss of employment, we know this will be down, hovering around 70 percent or so of our budgeted amount.”
Virgill-Rolle added that NIB has had higher-than-normal payments over the past year, which began in September 2019 with the payment of unemployment benefits (UEB) for Hurricane Dorian survivors.
“Dorian UEB payments were about 8.61 million. There was then the Dorian extension payments of around $3.85 million. Our government unemployment assistance program, which provided income support for self-employed people, was $15.61 million; the government extension of the UEB, $56.08 million; and NIB’s normal UEB was $91.65 million,” she said.
Earlier this month, Virgil-Rolle said at its peak NIB was accepting and processing more than 1,000 applications a week, but in recent weeks that number has reduced to fewer than 100.