Ten years have elapsed since the 2008 global financial meltdown left Barbados exposed for the open economy we have been taught it is in primary school. Across the Caribbean our little economies find themselves in the same boat with high debt to GDP and rotting infrastructures, rising corruption and a dearth of leadership.
Barbados WAS considered the gem of the Caribbean.
With all of our problems – some of our making – others caused by the vagaries of life’s existence- the blogmaster is concerned that after five months in office no definitive statement has been formally issued by the government about the current and future state of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
- Is the NIS fund still marketed as our life line?
- Was it established to provide financial support to citizens in the golden years?
- Is the knowledge that we have a well managed NIS fund an emotional comfort for the citizenry?
It appears from all the talk we have been hearing the NIS Fund is under threat. Given the catastrophic impact a failing fund would have on the Barbados society Prime Minister Mottley would do well to schedule another press briefing to lay the issues on the table and outline, what is the plan to stabilize and rescue the fund after it was used as a lender of last resort to add debt like no other time in modern history. To add to the problem, we have been told the former government didn’t pay 400 million dollars in employee deductions to the fund.
The blogmaster has posted several blogs about the lack of management demonstrated by successive NIS Boards and by extension government. The latest Actuarial Review is late (what is new?). Audited financial statements of the fund have not been laid in parliament to comply with the law for many years. Several projects funded by the NIS and decisions taken have been questionable.
- Prime Minister we need to know when the Actuarial Review due will be completed or if it was completed when will it be made public?
- Prime Minister we want to know when will the audited financial statements be laid in parliament and soon after be made public?
- Prime Minister we want to know on what basis Ian Carrington who was director of the NIS fund during the lost years has been given a leading role in the BERT execution in his current role as Director of Finance?
- Prime Minister we want to know why Dr. Justin Robinson remains active given his leadership role on the important Boards of the Central Bank and NIS Boards.
- Prime Minister we want to know who will be held accountable for the unconscionable squandermania of NIS funds in the last ten years.
In the debt restructure project the IMF document details that:-
NIS: T-bills, treasury notes and debentures. T-bills held by the NIS will be swapped for the new 15-year debenture; and its treasury notes and debentures will be exchanged for a 20- year discount debenture. The debenture will have with a 2-year grace period. Principal will be reduced by 17.5 percent at the issuance of the security; after the 2nd successful review under the proposed EFF-supported program, principal will be reduced by an additional 12.5 percent of the original principal; and after the 4th successful review under the proposed EFF-supported program, principal will be reduced by a final 5 percent of the original principal. Interest will be paid at a rate of 4 percent per annum for the first 3 years, followed by an interest rate of 8 percent per annum for remaining years.
Leading into the last general election the blogmaster had a brief exchange on Facebook with the former Chairman Justin Robinson about when current NIS financial will be laid in parliament- his response did not give hope the matter will be resolved anytime soon.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley you have been a big advocate for transparency AND accountability in government. We waiting to see!