Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (IWN file photos)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) social security agency is the least exposed to government debt in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and Barbados, notwithstanding the EC$15 million owed to it by the government.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement in Parliament on Tuesday as he presented a resolution asking lawmakers to allow the government to raise an EC$15 million loan from the National Insurance Fund to liquidate outstanding contributions owed to the fund.

“Indeed, when the IMF, on the last occasion when they were doing the Article IV consultations, they were surprised at the low level of indebtedness of the central government to the NIS (National Insurance Services).

“It is remarkable in the Caribbean an in the world,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves, who, as Minister of Finance has ministerial responsibility for the NIS, said the size of investment portfolio of the various social security agencies held by their respective governments were:

Antigua and Barbuda, 84 per cent; Dominica, 34.6 per cent; Grenada, 24 per cent; St. Kitts and Nevis, 49.3 per cent; St. Lucia, 24.7 per cent; Anguilla, 20 per cent; Barbados, 75 per cent; Bahamas, 40 per cent; and SVG, 10.7 per cent.

In addition, Gonsalves said that in accordance with the investment policy of the NIS, the government puts a 25 per cent cap on the percentage of the NIS portfolio that can be invest in central government instruments.

In addition, he told lawmakers that

there is no cap in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, and the Bahamas.

However, in Dominica, where the cap is 35 per cent, the government holds 34.6 per cent of the investment portfolio; in Grenada, the government holds 24 per cent, even as the cap is 20 per cent; and in St. Lucia, the government holds 30 per cent, 6 percentage points more than the cap.

Gonsalves said that before and especially after the December floods last year, his government has been having challenges paying the EC$1.7 million in contributions to the NIS on behalf of public workers.

He said his government will replay over 10 years the EC$15 million owed, and will from this month pay the EC$1.7 each month.

The resolution passed without opposition support.

4 replies on “SVG’s NIS least exposed to gov’t debts in ECCU — PM”

  1. I Tried to warn Vincentians about this Gonsalves guy before but they didn’t listen. When the ULP came into office SVG had some of the lowest and the least amount of tax, you know what he said? He said that SVG has some of the lowest tax in the Caribbean, so adding more tax wasn’t a big deal and look at us today. We have tax on local produce and he even tried to put a tax on the Grenadines people called the “Grenadines Tax”. Could you imagine that? The PM our PM was complaining that we were not being taxed enough, tax is killing Vincentians now.

    So here we go again, he is now saying that our NIS is one of the least exposed, so now he wants to expose our NIS to more government debt. Again can you imagine that? In which world you ever hear more foolishness? Not one soul can defend this level of foolishness. If I didn’t know better I would assume that the government is trying to destroy our country on purpose just because they are on their way out of office.

    Vincentians. I feel sorry for you all.

  2. This $15 million is just the smallest amount they have had from the NIS during the last few years. They currently owe the NIS over $200 million. They cannot wait to get there hands on more and more of your cash.

    The larger problem as I see it is that they broke the NCB bank and had to sell it. Now they are going all out to clean out the NIS, but they can’t sell that once they wreck it, and they can’t privatise it either. So all you people who are looking forward to old age and a pension, don’t hold your breath.

    They tell us not to worry, that the government is the guarantor for your pension, but if they are broke how will they pay your pension. Half the time today, they cannot even pay the salaries on time. Every year approaching Christmas sections of the government employees are sometimes not paid for three months.

    Remember they are now in debt for the next hundred years and are still spending money faster than the East Caribbean bank can have it printed.

    I am told there is a new Bill coming very shortly to parliament to take away the illegality of bribing the electorate in the run up to an election. Yes they are looking to make it a non criminal offence to give away all the roofing, lumber, cement, money in envelopes, cookers, fridges, sheep, goats, strong rum. Once again they are going to amend the law so as they cannot be prosecuted for their disgusting behaviour. They are taking away the criminal offence and making it a $500 fine on conviction. As it is at the moment if they are convicted for this offence they can go to prison as well, and then are not allowed to stand as an MP or Senator. They intend changing all that, why? if the don’t bribe Why? Why exchange a good law for a not so good law, Why?

    When will we ever learn. People are still supporting them and clapping and cheering them, perpetuating their lies and bad behaviour. People are still coming to these sites to support them, regurgitating all the vile Marxist rubbish.

  3. Just a thought after destroying the NCB bank, they made the NIS buy bank shares they couldn’t sell elsewhere.

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