BU has not had the opportunity to thoroughly review the delayed release by government of the 15th Actuarial Review of the National Insurance Scheme. It is a very important fund- a safety net and lifeline- hence the reason BU has been uncompromising in our calls for transparency in the management of the fund.
The inability of the fund to publish audited financial statements in recent years highlights a level of incompetence that is informed by a separate blog. To be fair to the NIS management the unacceptable situation has straddled both political administrations and mirrors the wider state of public sector poor financial management. See a decade of Auditor General Reports.
In response to the findings recorded in the actuarial review the Chairman of the National Insurance Board Justin Robinson felt duty bound to release a statement to the traditional media. Unfortunately our resident actuary Walter Blackman appears to have been silenced after receiving a ‘pick’ with the government owned and controlled Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). It seems BU will have to forego his analysis of the actuarial review in this forum. We hope not!
BU’s comment on the Chairman’s response is anchored in commonsense. Chairman Justin Robinson admits what we know, the government is unable to earn adequate foreign dollars to effectively and efficiently manage the issue of portfolio diversification i.e. accept the recommendation to reduce local holdings from 75% to 50%. What his explanation confirms is that the NIS Fund is under threat from the risk of heavy local concentration in the domestic market, especially government paper, an anemic economic performance and concomitant low yield on investment.
The public relations tactic of the Chairman will satisfy the political partisans, however, independent minded Bajans AND vested actors remain unappeased.