On July 1, the Social Security Board will roll out the new contribution scheme. As a result employees will see an increase of up to two percent, in their contributions. It is an increase that will be applied in three tranches over a period of two and a half years. CEO for SSB, Dr. Colin Young had explained that the increase has become necessary in order to keep the social security fund from collapsing. Young also noted that the increase should have been done years ago. Today, the media caught up with the Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber and probed him as to why the government did not move quicker to have this done.
Honorable Patrick Faber – Minister of Education: “It is never a pleasant thing to say to people you have to contribute more, even though I think the SSB has made it crystal clear that the sustenance of this program, this initiative needs some more money and it is really just that. If you listen to the SSB folks explain things they will share with you how much more than what each individual contributes to this scheme that those individuals get upon retirement and for the many years that they exist or they live after they reach retirement age, in some cases for their families after they pass on. There can be no dispute that the benefits far out way what we put in and so while it is that it is unfortunate that we have to ask for that kind of increase I think it is indisputable that this is something that is very much necessary. We reject wholeheartedly those comments, especially coming from the opposition that says that our administration, in fact, has used the SSB as a slush fund, that may have been once upon a time but certainly not under this administration.”
Faber pointed out that the wider government pension scheme is also on the brink of collapse and some changes need to be made to it as well.
Honorable Patrick Faber – Minister of Education: “I want to make it clear that indeed it is never ideal, politicians are often boxed in a corner and find it difficult to do things that are important because of the pressure from the electorate but when you see a political party, one that has now proven itself so many times to be very viable says you know what it is time for us to do the right thing unless you want us to end up in a bigger hole. Again I have made this point in terms of the wider government pension scheme which is not on the table now but I can tell you we need to look at seriously again because that too will crash if we don’t make some changes. The government keeps pumping in one hundred percent of the contributions for such a pension scheme and gratuity package for public servants, teachers and police officers, we are going to crash. Any responsible administration will have to face that music at some point or the other no matter how far we kick the pan down the road.”
The contribution increase will result in pensioners’ benefits also increasing; however, the increase will not apply to current pensioners.