Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams has accused Government of being one of the biggest defaulters on National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions.
Speaking in the Upper Chamber today on the National Insurance and Social Security Amendment Bill 2018, Abrahams charged that the administration was in not position to condemn delinquent employers, adding that “those who come to equity must come with clean hands”.
Although the Barbados Labour Party legislator supported the measure which validates waivers the NIS gave to delinquent employers and self-employed persons, Abrahams was critical of Government and its record with NIS contributions for state employees.
The Opposition senator called for an overhaul of the NIS investment policy, and insisted that the social security scheme faced significant risks because of its was “over exposed” to Government paper.
In fact, he said the NIS should “not continue the reckless exposure” to Government investments.
“That is where the fear comes in where you have a cash strapped Government that is unable to meet its debts, that you may have a situation where the NIS is no longer able to pay the pensions that people expect.
“You may have a situation where the base of the NIS is so small that the money now coming in is far inferior to the money that has to be paid out in the obligations of the NIS,” he said.
“I would feel hard done if I have paid NIS for years and looking for a benefit at the end of the road and when that time comes there is no money because of bad investments. The NIS as a fund owes a fiduciary responsibility to the subscribers of that fund who are the investors and the shareholders . . . they owe a duty to invest safely and responsibly so that the guaranteed returns are available.”
Abrahams also told Senate colleagues he was not convinced that NIS investment decisions were being made “dispassionately”.