This week government approved a $50 million boost to the Unemployment Fund, the first tranche of a $143 million recapitalization of the NIS Unemployment Fund planned over 3 years. Government’s decision comes as no surprise in the wake of over 52 thousand claims filed in 2020 as a result of the displacement of workers caused by the pandemic.
We must not forget contributors over many years have posted concerns about the questionable governance framework National Insurance Scheme has been doing business. Protracted delays of published Audited Financial and Actuarial Review reports continue to shroud the business of our most important statutory agency. If the NIS is to satisfy its mandate to pay pension benefits, it means government has to show greater transparency and implement effective governance measures to protect the fund. Both major political parties when in government have operated the NIS Fund to use the popular analogy like an ATM. Unfortunately in a dysfunctional system of democracy practised, we continue to fail at finding ways to hold successive governments accountable except at 5 year intervals.
It is encouraging to observe government taking some action to protect its mandate to stabilize the Unemployment Fund to honour claims from Barbadians. It is unfortunate the Mottley government has not been able to replicate the same urgency associated with the transition to a Republic by 30 November by addressing long-standing issues affecting the NIS Fund promised on the 2018 election campaign platform. This is another example of another government kicking the can down the road because of political damage considerations. This is another example of a member of the duopoly showing no trepidation to over promising during an election campaign knowing there will under deliver in office.
There is no need to be prolix prosecuting this matter, read the several blogs posted in the BU Archive by entering ‘NIS’ in the SEARCH BOX at the top of the page. That is, if you are interest in discussing an important matter that should concern all Barbadians devoid of the usual political partisan claptrap.