The Social Security Board is coming to the end of its consultations with regards to its proposal to increase benefits to the fund. Representatives from the SSB have met with several organizations including the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU). Senator Elena Smith, outlined the BNTU’s position.
Senator Elena Smith, President, BNTU: “As it relates to BNTU we do agree that the bands can be increased but we are of the view that if we are going to be increasing contributions then benefits must also increase and so those are two things that we have agreed to as a union; that we are willing to accept the increase and we must ensure that benefits must also increase. As it relates to the cost sharing between employer and employee we have our position but as I said before that will be tabled with the NTUCB and from there we will have that umbrella position.”
Reporter: In terms of the position made by SSB Officials to the BNTU and if this is not done the fund is in serious financial crisis. Talk to us about their presentation on that and what was explained.
Senator Elena Smith, BNTU President: “Ok Well our members are concerned about that because one of the big concerns our members had was the fact of investments because they are saying, had SSB invested properly years ago then we would not be n this position. They also spoke on the matter of the NHI which again is huge sums of money coming out of the SSB and those are monies going to persons who never contributed to the SSB any at all. So those are some of the concerns that were raised but we do realize that at the end of the day, the employees need to benefit and so it is not in our best interest to do nothing and then let the fund crash so we are willing to increase the contribution ceiling because we believe that is going to help.”
Recently SSB officials met with PUP representatives.