Government is to clear over $200 million in arrears to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), after the two sides signed a long-awaited deal.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler this morning announced he had inked the agreement over a week ago, under which the administration would pay some of the arrears in cash and the remainder in Government papers.
Sinckler had announced last July that he would begin discussions with the NIS and the Central Bank on a plan to clear the arrears, owed to the social security scheme by statutory bodies.
Wrapping up debate this morning on an amendment to the National Insurance and Social Security Act, giving legal teeth to an amnesty granted to delinquent individuals and companies between October 15, 2017 and January 15, 2018, the minister said the way was now clear for the execution of the plan.
“We have arrived . . . [at] a full arrangement to ensure the full and complete liquidation of all monies owed by the Government of Barbados to the National Insurance Scheme and to have that done as expeditiously as possible,” Sinckler said.
“It would be a contribution of cash injections . . . and of course some Government paper which they would determine with the committee that sets out the pieces of Government papers, which portions of that would go to where,” he added.
Sinckler said once the arrears were cleared, efforts would be made to ensure that all Government departments and agencies were up to date on their NIS contributions.
“The accountant general is seeing to, certainly from this calendar year, to ensure that each and every period that everybody is current that we don’t build back up any of those arrears. I think that should put the National Insurance Scheme back on the appropriate footing that it needs,” said Sinckler, who had indicated last July that the NIS held about $1.9 billion in Government papers.