July 1 will not only usher in the new 12 per cent value-added tax (VAT) rate, it will also mean an increase in contributions to the National Insurance Board (NIB) by both employer and employee.
Minister responsible for NIB and the Public Service Brensil Rolle confirmed the increase yesterday, which he said will also mean an increase in benefits.
“The ceiling has been increased slightly. That’s the bad news. But the good news is the benefits have increased tremendously,” he said.
“Our pension, for example, is tied to the retail index. So, anytime there’s an increase in retail prices and stuff, your pension goes up automatically every two years.
“So, all of the benefits that we give out from NIB have also been increased.”
The insurable wage ceiling will move from $650 to $670 per week or $2,817 to $2,903 per month.
Pensioners, under the new benefit, will enjoy an increase up to 1.2 per cent.
The maternity grant has also been increased from $480 to $490, while the funeral benefit increases $30 from $1,780 to $1,810.
In a notice on its website, the board points out that the increase was mandated in law as a result of amendments made to the National Insurance Act in 2010, which the notice said, introduced amendments to pensions, grants, and the wage ceiling.
The notice further points out that the adjustments to pensions and grants is based on the change in the retail price index in the two previous calendar years prior to the adjustment year.
Rolle, who appeared on IL TV’s Beyond the Headlines with Clint Watson said, as the contributions and benefits increase, the focus of the executive has shifted to improving the services provided under social security programme.
“We are totally committed to what I call the social services network of The Bahamas – that is National Insurance,” he said.
“We are totally committed to that because many of the individuals who come to national insurance, have already made their contributions and they’re now trying to get a return.
“So we are trying to ensure that the network is strong, that the service must be improved and I say that unashamedly. And we are taking every step to make sure the service is improved. One of the things I said to my colleagues and the management of NIB is that I don’t want to come to NIB and see our seniors sitting around unattended. I don’t want to see them in distress.
“And so we are totally revamping the ground floor so that their surroundings could look better and be better, and their service can be given in an atmosphere that is good and deserving of them.
“Next thing we are doing is trying to make sure that all of their contributions are on record. You know we had some challenges with the computer system and so I always say I have good team of officers trying to address that matter.”