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SBB’s Increase in Contributions Deferred Once Again

Social Security Board will not be upping its contributions come January 3, 2022. It is a decision made by Cabinet to put off the increase to the start of the next fiscal year. Prime Minister John Briceno confirmed the decision earlier today when the media met up with him out west.

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize:“Cabinet after some further discussions we felt that we want to put it aligned with the financial year which starts in April so we know that this decision was done way before we got into government in 2019 I think and it was done after extensive consultations with the private sector, with the labor, with the employees, with everybody because the truth of the matter is that the Social Security funds were drying out. We’re reaching what we call a point of equilibrium it simply means that every dollar you collect you’re paying out a dollar and we have to make sure that we could have enough in reserves, in the fund so that when you retire you’d be able to get something and the only way you can do that is by increasing the contributions and so it was agreed that it would have gone up I think it was two and a half percent in phases. The last phase should have been in 2020 but when we got into government we realized that the country was going through a severe economic crisis and we felt that it woul have been very difficult to impose that on people. So we said we were going to hold it back for a year. So again we had another discussion with Social Security, with the CEO and the Chairperson of Social Security they came to Cabinet and made a presentation to point why it is necessary. So it is then that we decided okay we’ll proceed with the one percent but then decided to take one step further to move it now to April at the start of fiscal year. An important also of what Social Security is doing is also increasing the bands of the amount that you can insure your earnings and so I think it’s going to go up to five hundred dollars a month and that will help a lot of public officers, a lot of people in the private sector that are earning two thousand dollars or more a month that they’ll be able to have a bigger retirement payments when that time comes.”

Initially, the increase was to begin on January 3, 2022 as was indicated to the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB) by SSB last month. The increase remains at one percent. Additionally, the wage band will be increased to $520.00. This means that when a contributor goes on leave (sick, maternity, etc) the most he/she would be able to receive weekly is $520; an increase from the current $480. Payments made in this regard by SSB is calculated based on salary/income.