Par­lia­ment short­ens time­line for ac­tu­ar­ial re­view of NIS

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - –JIS

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­proved changes to the Na­tional In­sur­ance (Amend­ment) Act, al­low­ing for an ac­tu­ar­ial re­view of the Na­tional In­sur­ance Scheme (NIS) ev­ery three years, in­stead of the cur­rent five years.

Min­is­ter of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity Shahine Robin­son, who pi­loted the bill, told law­mak­ers that the re­duc­tion in the re­view pe­riod would put the min­istry in a bet­ter po­si­tion to more closely mon­i­tor and take pre-emp­tive mea­sures or make timely in­ter­ven­tions to en­sure the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the state-run pen­sion scheme.

She also told law­mak­ers that the NIS Re­form Com­mit­tee has com­pleted its as­sess­ment of the most re­cent ac­tu­ar­ial report done by Eck­ler Con­sul­tants.

“More fre­quent ac­tu­ar­ial reviews will pro­vide crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion that will sup­port risk man­age­ment and im­proved gov­er­nance of the NIS pen­sion funds. More fre­quent ac­tu­ar­ial reviews will also as­sist in mak­ing long-term fi­nan­cial and in­vest­ment de­ci­sions of the [Na­tional In­sur­ance] Fund,” she ex­plained.

The reviews will al­low for greater trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity, and will al­low the min­istry to mon­i­tor the ef­fec­tive­ness of re­form ini­tia­tives, she said.

EN­SUR­ING SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY

“The amend­ments pro­posed in this bill will sup­port our ef­forts in en­sur­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of the NIS and its abil­ity to hon­our its fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions to con­trib­u­tors,” Robin­son told the House on Septem­ber 28. The report of the re­view done by the NIS Re­form Com­mit­tee is to be pre­sented at the next Cab­i­net meet­ing. The Eck­ler ac­tu­ar­ial report pro­jected that the Na­tional In­sur­ance Fund (NIF) cash flow is at risk of be­ing de­pleted by 2033 if se­ri­ous ef­forts are not made to re­form the present struc­ture and op­er­a­tion of NIS. The NIF man­ages and in­vests NIS con­tri­bu­tions. At present, more than 112,000 per­sons re­ceive NIS pay­outs and ben­e­fits. In the 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year, $15.4 billion was spent on NIS ben­e­fits, while $12.8 billion was col­lected in con­tri­bu­tions — a gap of $2.6 billion.

Min­is­ter of Labour and So­cial Se­cu­rity Shahine Robin­son.

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