The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]
PM Gonsalves is known to love the term masterstroke. Well here is his latest masterstroke. The government owes the NIS EC$15 million for contributions and cannot pay them. So he is presenting a resolution to Parliament this week to allow the government to issue a treasury note, or treasury notes, for the amount outstanding to the NIS, thus putting off payment for several more years.
Can I do that? Can any business in Kingstown do that?
The resolution reads as follows:
TO BE MOVED BY DR. THE HONOURABLE RALPH GONSALVES, MINISTER OF FINANCE:
WHEREAS section 44 of the Finance Administration Act provides that no money shall be raised on the credit of the Government except under the authority of that Act or another Act of Parliament or of a resolution of the House of Assembly;
AND WHEREAS the Government proposes to enter into agreement with the National Insurance Board to raise a loan from the National Insurance Fund in an amount sufficient to produce as nearly as may be the sum of fifteen million dollars to liquidate outstanding contributions owed by the Government to the National Insurance Fund;
AND WHEREAS the Government proposes to raise the loan by the issue of treasury notes totalling fifteen million dollars;
NOW BE IT RESOLVED by this Honourable House that the Government may, pursuant to this Resolution, raise a loan from the National Insurance Fund in an amount sufficient to produce as nearly as may be the sum of fifteen million dollars to liquidate outstanding contributions owed by the Government to the National Insurance Fund.
This is other people’s money; it doesn’t belong to the Government, it belongs to the workers. If a private individual or company did fail to pay NIS contributions after its been collected and after its due, they are liable to be prosecuted.
What I would like to know is how the NIS ever allowed the Government to run up a bill for contributions exceeding EC$15 million? Is the Government also paying the fine for late payment?
It shows me who is really in charge of the NIS.
It is an absolute disgrace, but I am sure in the mind of Gonsalves it’s just another masterstroke.
Just a thought, how will such a deal work with VINLEC, CWSA and the UWI, who are all owed millions? Will those shortly become masterstrokes as well?
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].