Unions say efforts to analyse proposals for pension reform hampered by unavailability of NIS reports
August 11, 2023
Unions say efforts to analyse proposals for pension reform hampered by unavailability of NIS reports

The three local public sector unions and associations have called upon the relevant authorities to make available documents such as actuarial reports and statements of investments of the National Insurance Services (NIS) so that they can complete their analysis of the proposals that have been put forward for pension reform here.

The NIS however maintains that all public information is available to all stakeholders.

The SVG Public Service Union (SVGPSU), SVG Teachers Union (SVGTU) and the Royal SVG Police Welfare Association (PWA) in a joint statement dated July 24 said they are aware of the discussions being held on pension reform, and since the first quarter of 2023 have “proactively put in place” a committee composed of members from the aforementioned association and unions to analyze and discuss the proposals for pension reform, the National Insurance Services (NIS) annual reports and the NIS actuarial reports.

“The aim of the committee is to work with the management of the National Insurance Services (NIS) and the Government of SVG to ensure that the NIS continues to be a sustainable social security institution that provides promised benefits, but not at a disproportionate or unfair advantage over our workers and citizens of this country,” the statement said.

However, according to the statement, the analysis conducted by the joint committee was only “partially successful”, as their efforts were “hindered by an inability to obtain” (i) The NIS annual reports from 2021 to 2022; (ii) Statement of Securities and Investments for the NIS; (iii) The 11th actuarial report and any other actuarial reports used to formulate the current pension reform proposals (iv) RAMP analysis reports 2023.

The NIS however told SEARCHLIGHT on Thursday, August 10 that all public information is available to all stakeholders. “For instance, the 2021 report and the 11th actuarial report are on our website. Probably at time of their request the reports were not completed for public dissemination. Management has had consultations with unions on matters relating to NIS operations and administration,” Executive Director Stewart Haynes told SEARCHLIGHT.

“Management remain committed to have open and productive dialogues with all stakeholders on this important national issue.”

The statement from the unions reminded that the Minister of Finance, in a recent Ministerial Statement, extended an invitation for engaging dialogue with all the relevant stakeholders, which the SVG PWA, SVG PSU and SVG Teachers Union endorse and were happy to hear.

“Such an oral invitation should ensure that public documents such as actuarial reports, RAMP analysis reports, statements of securities and investments for the NIS, and other annual reports would be made available to the committee; at the earliest possible moment.

“Once again, the committee reiterates that we desire to work with the NIS and the Government of SVG in their quest to make amendments to both the NIS pension and the Public Service pension. The committee has formulated several preliminary recommendations based on the limited and outdated documentation available to us. However, it is our main aim to obtain and get access to the aforementioned documents so that we can finalize our submissions, submit them to the Government of SVG, and communicate to our members and fellow citizens.

“We assure you (our members and the public) that we are very concerned about the impact of the projected reforms and how they will affect the quality of life of all contributors and pensioners. In light of this concern, we assure you that we are attentively monitoring the situation through a series of ongoing meetings and consultations; and will bring all the pertinent information to the attention of our members and the public,” the joint statement said.