The Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations has made an urgent appeal for self- employed individuals to make their payments to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
Colin Jordan made the special call as he delivered the keynote address at the fifth NIS GEM Awards ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre Saturday evening.
Jordan, whose ministry has responsibility for the NIS, revealed troubling statistics about self-employed people contributing to the scheme.
“There are approximately 2,035 self-employed persons submitting payments to the NIS as of March 2018. In the last census in 2010, the Barbados Statistical Service estimated there were 20,000 self-employed persons in Barbados, and I am sure that the number has grown significantly since then, “ he explained.
Jordan said that the current situation has to change because it is important for all self-employed people to contribute so that they have a safety net for hard times.
“Many persons do not realize the benefit of social security until a need or crisis arises. Our future is secure when we contribute to the NIS. This situation begs the question as to how self-employed persons manage their lives in periods of low production and low income, sickness or invalidity, and whether they manage their savings in such a way to ensure that there is a resource of funds to support during retirement,” he said while adding that the payment is relatively small and could be as low as $21 a week or $91 a month.
He is pleading with those who identify as self-employed to think about their future and pension.
“The significance and seriousness of social security cannot, therefore, be understated. It is therefore incumbent upon me as Minister responsible for Labour, to make an appeal to all persons to play their part in sustaining our social security system; all persons who are employed and self-employed should ensure that they participate in the national insurance scheme, “ he said.
He also revealed the NIS will be launching an awareness campaign in the near future to encourage self-employed persons to utilize the coverage provided by the Scheme.