Dorian has placed further pressure on the fund
NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Noting that Hurricane Dorian has placed further pressure on the fund, the National Insurance Board (NIB) yesterday projected a “sizable deficit” between contributions income and benefit payments in 2020.
In a statement yesterday, NIB said it has sought to prudently manage its resources by slowing the growth of administrative expenses while preserving the staff complement.
It further stated management projections were consistent with actuarial projections for the National Insurance Fund for the 2020 period.
“Further pressure has been placed on the fund in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian which has left many Bahamians unemployed and contributing businesses closed in the second and third largest economies of The Bahamas,” the statement read.
“Management has sought to prudently manage NIB’s resources by slowing the growth of administrative expenses while preserving the staff complement. Management accepts that the path to improved sustainability is difficult and unpopular but necessary for the overall benefit of the thousands of Bahamians who depend on the fund.”
Scores of NIB employees demonstrated outside its Baillou Hill Road headquarters again yesterday over negotiations on outstanding industrial agreement.
President of the Union of Public Officers (UPO) Ghion Roach said: “On Friday we would have had to leave because some of my members weren’t feeling well. We came back this morning only to find out that they still do not have a resolution and so we decided we are going to walk off again.”
Roach could not say how long the ‘sick-out’ would last.
“We are holding a strike certificate and when it’s time to exercise it we will,” he said.
“We want our contract to be completed. We have about one or two clauses that need to be signed off on. We have a bone of contention with one or two of them but we are not prepared to stand down on them.
Roach said: “Those articles were previously agreed upon and we are not prepared to go back and change them.”
The union president acknowledged that he could not speak to the financial position of NIB but stressed his members wanted to keep some of the increases.
“The fact of the matter is we just want to keep some of the increases we have always enjoyed,” Roach said.
“We are not asking for any additional raises or any extra percentages we just want to keep what we already have.”
In its statement, NIB said UPO’s demonstration at its headquarters extended beyond the 15 minute tea break period provided in the industrial agreement.
“The action included a blockage of the main entry gate and driveway for a period of time,” NIB said.
“Via the media, the board was made ware that the action may be a strike. The Board is awaiting formal confirmation so that appropriate measures may be taken.”
Regarding current negotiations, NIB said: “In current negotiations the Board has agreed monetary increasesin almost every category of staff benefits, including monthly mileage allowances, acting and responsibility allowances and the introduction of new financial benefits.
“There have also been increases to the performance based Christmas bonus which is paid irrespective of the financial performance of the Board. NIB offers an attractive salary and benefits package to itself inclusive of health insurance and staff pension plan.”
It continued: “The outstanding issue remains around automatic orkotmions of certain group of employees and the compensation schedule. The UPO has been asked to present a clear, written counterproposal which reflects the views of their members. The Board will also be seeking a clear commitment to productivity and service level improvements.”