0

Can We Bite Nib Bullet? ‘Bold Decision’ Needed - Raise Contributions To Sustain Cash Assistance

Public Services and National Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle.

Public Services and National Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle yesterday admitted that no government has been “bold enough” to take on recommendations that National Insurance Board contributions must increase to sustain the financial viability of the social security net.

Mr Rolle was asked yesterday about the possibility of NIB contributions increasing, as he said the agency has to date paid out in excess of $100m “to individuals primarily who have not contributed to NIB or who have contributed partially to NIB”.

He was noncommittal on whether an increase will come or when it could happen, only telling reporters it has been an ongoing discussion for years.

“I challenged the media last year to have that discussion to engage the public and let’s see their views,” the minister said before yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

“Individuals have, in my opinion, now recognise(d) the true value of NIB and its contributions and the value of the contributions to the community. The government itself, in unemployment assistance alone, is spending nearly $100m to individuals primarily who have not contributed to NIB or who have contributed partially to NIB.

“So, members of the public know how important that is and I challenge the media and I offer that challenge again to the media to put it out there, to let me see what the response of the public is going to be because your platform is much, much larger than mine.”

Pressed further on whether there had been a recommendation to increase contributions, Mr Rolle said: “That recommendation has been made from 2015, I believe it’s been out there.

“To be quite frank with you, neither the PLP nor the FNM has been bold enough to take that back to the public and so, during this pandemic, I again say Bahamians now realise the importance and value of NIB and they may be eager to contribute, but I urge you to use your great platform so that we can get their response.”

Mr Rolle said all of NIB’s directors have pushed the government to make the move, but the government has not made the determination.

However, eventually, he said the decision will have to be made.

“We have to also take into consideration that during Dorian and this pandemic the resources and the funding to the board has been diminished and we have got to make a decision to make sure the board continues to be able to serve and that may mean that consideration will be given to the recommendation that has been advanced to us many, many times by actuaries and others who say listen this is what must take place.”

The minister also addressed concerns about delayed assistance payments.

“The government assistance programme offered by the government and executed by NIB, there was a delay in that process and that delay has been addressed.

“Cheques are now available to everyone who qualifies and they could collect the cheques consistent with where it was and the other programme, direct deposits have taken place.”

Comments

bcitizen 3 weeks ago

"has to date paid out in excess of $100m “to individuals primarily who have not contributed to NIB or who have contributed partially to NIB”." So you now want to raise my contributions because you gave the money to people who did not contribute? WTF is this? Do these people realize you cant get blood out of a stone. Why dont you try and cut some costs. Anyone remember that video when Minnis first got elected and toured the NIB building they have people even inside of broom closets supposedly working in that place. No reason that agency needs hundreds and hundreds of staff in this supposedly electronic age.

3

KapunkleUp 3 weeks ago

Yeah right, increase rates because NIB got no more money. That is utter BS. The last available balance sheet (2016) for NIB shows that they got 1.1 BILLION in "investments". Most of that are loans to other government agencies. We all know what that means.

Go to page 28 of the report.

https://www.nib-bahamas.com/UserFiles...">https://www.nib-bahamas.com/UserFiles...

1

GodSpeed 3 weeks ago

So you now want to raise my contributions because you gave the money to people who did not contribute? WTF is this?

It's called Socialism fella, and it's taking over the planet.

1

John 3 weeks ago

So how long will this (Bahamas) government dig in the same pile of sand for more coins? Have you forgotten that when minimum wage was increased by 60% several years ago, the NIB contributions for all affected workers also increased? And this did not just include minimum wage workers but also those workers who got wage increases to keep them above minimum wage. In fact, only workers who were already above NIB’s salary cap were not affected by the salary/wage increases. And so businesses small and medium mostly or those that are labor intensive not only saw their labor bills increased by up to 60% but also their NIB contributions. And many of these businesses suffered through the pandemic, just like everyone else. Some were shuttered since March and some still remain close. So what will be the impact of loading another NIB increase on them in this time of crisis? And especially with the possibility of another minimum wage increase before Elections? NIB shoes may be tight or worn, but they need to hold on to them until situations improve. A contribution increase at this time may result in less revenue as more employers may no be in a position to pay and/or more workers will find themselves unemployed.

2

DWW 3 weeks ago

what a load of poppycock? did he really say that NIB contributions have not been raised? Where was he when the NIB rate was raised a few years ago? I get the impression (squinting) that Mr. Rolle may have never actually made a contribution himself. NIB is supposed to be a government controlled, regulated and enforced national pension plan NOT a gov't slush fund to get votes. GTFOOPariliament

1

Dawes 3 weeks ago

Yet again our great leaders only idea when faced with a financial crisis is to increase the amount the people pay. For NIB they never say that it shouldn't be used to fund all the Government projects for which the return will be minimal. They also never go after the companies and people not paying what they should. No lets just go after those who do what they are meant to. Like most of our past governments this one is useless.

1

John 3 weeks ago

And it was the government’s decision to pay many who were not qualified or not even registered at NIB I unemployment benefits. Many were hotel workers or union members who had access to other funds. What message does this send to persons who are registered to NIB or the employers who are making contributions on behalf of their workers? How does government intend to recover these funds? Or, at least make these employers, many self employed, compliant?

1

Sickened 3 weeks ago

They need to add additional tiers to the contribution scheme? Maybe more tiers can be set at $75k, $100k and $200k. These additional tiers will not have much of an impact on small or medium sized businesses.

There are quite a lot of people making some good money but who contribute the same as a Clerk.

0

KapunkleUp 3 weeks ago

Not saying I disagree but that sounds a lot like income tax brackets.

1

Sickened 2 weeks, 6 days ago

In a way it is. I am TOTALLY against income tax but I think it's unfair for me to contribute the same amount as my secretary.

0

GodSpeed 3 weeks ago

Currency crisis and collapse coming.

1

John 3 weeks ago

BitCoin has hit $40,000 recently as it continues to surge. Some "experts' expect Bitcoin will hit $90,000 before year's end. There are three basic reasons for the surge; (1) The US $ is expected to collapse in the near future or no longer be the major currency of trade. (2) Major financial institutions are now recognizing cryptocurrency (BitCoin) as a legitimate medium of exchange and so the demand for it is growing tenfold. (3) There is a limited amount of BitCoin and only so many can be mined at a time. So, like gold, BitCoin is becoming scarce, more in demand and so more valuable. There are things that can change these features, like another currency gaing popularity, or like a new way of mining Bitcoin is invented (and some are being tested). But at this time the average Bahamian cannot participate in this market.

0

bahamianson 3 weeks ago

it is not a bold decision to increase taxes, it is a stupid decision. What we need are Bold ideas from you. Every

1

DDK 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Tribune, what's with all these garbage pictures in the middle of the news? Please don't tell me this is a pathetic attempt at advertising.

0

The_Oracle 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Another bad idea lying in wait for the next Government to implement. Seems every new administration seizes upon the worst approaches of the prior. In all, it is no different than nationalization in times of crisis, just a slower death under the cover of Government Altruism. (a complete oxymoron)

0

Socrates 2 weeks, 4 days ago

We need less dipping into the fund and less socialist handouts. Citizens must understand small country governments dont have the capacity to help due the numbers..

0

sheeprunner12 1 week, 3 days ago

A few observations ..........

(1) Who (in Government) will address the high cost of NIB Board & employees' salaries, perks and allowances????? Highest in the region ...........

(2) Will the Govt repay NIB for these foolhardy politically reckless "investments" ???

(3) How will the Govt or NIB Board improve the low participation of non-civil servant workers in paying their fair share of contributions.

(4) Has the Govt set a dangerous precedent in "giving out" $100 million to persons who did not pay their way, but now can collect "free money" during a crisis???

(5) What will the proposed increase in NIB contributions be??? ....... and will there be a moratorium on ill-advised new "safety net" measures to get political mileage during election seasons??

0

Sign in to comment