This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Caddle says BRA, NIS must work together

Backbencher Marsha Caddle has highlighted the need for systems between the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) to operate in tandem, to keep track of individuals and businesses who fail to keep up with their contributions.

She has also urged the Government to improve the NIS’ compliance capabilities.

Caddle said the time had come for the NIS and BRA to merge their capabilities.

“One of the things, for example, that I think is absolutely necessary is to be able to align the datasets and systems at the Barbados Revenue Authority with those at the National Insurance Scheme. If I were to go further, I might make the recommendation that we have one institution in Barbados collecting all revenue. It is done in the US,” she said after Minister of Labour, Social Security and the Third Sector Colin

Jordan delivered a ministerial statement on the Revitalisation of the NIS.

“We have compliance issues at the NIS. I guarantee you that BRA has fewer compliance issues, but it is the same clients. If I want to see what is happening, what people are earning, and to make sure that the schedules that are submitted then match the contributions that are paid in, that is made easier when those data systems are aligned.”

The former Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment said that although she fully supports the changes coming to the NIS, which include raising the pensionable age to 68 over the next 11 years and increasing the number of contributions required to be eligible for a pension, from 500 to 750, the Government must put more emphasis on improving compliance.

Recalling the opinions of various groups that consulted with the NIS and the Government while the National Insurance and Social Security (Amendment) Bill was being drafted, Caddle said the questionable level of compliance at the NIS was a recurrent source of concern for those groups, and Barbadians, as a whole.

“One of the first things that occupied those groups of people who were consulted was the issue of compliance. The consideration was that we cannot ask anybody to pay more, to retire later, to have fewer benefits, until and unless the issue of compliance and recovery of monies owed to the NIS is addressed. So whatever else is contemplated in terms of measures to be changed, I think the people of Barbados need to have the assurance that everything that needs to be done will be done to recover what is owed, but also in an ongoing way, to make sure that there is compliance of payment,” the St Michael South Central MP said.

“It is an unfair ask that you are missing some of the money over here, but then you are asking people who are already compliant to carry more of the burden. Compliance has to be one of the first ports of call,” Caddle insisted.

In the 17th Actuarial Review of the National Insurance Fund (NIF), Unemployment Fund and Severance Payments Fund, dated July 2022, actuary Derek Osborne projected that the NIF would move from expenditure being 36 per cent more than contributions in 2020, to 77 per cent more than contributions when all reserves are exhausted in 2036.

As of December 31, 2022, the NIF stood at $3.679 billion.

Caddle also addressed general administration, performance and responsiveness of the NIS during her contribution, stressing that the NIS needed to do a much better job in delivering its service to citizens when queries arise.

“Who is managing my case, who is responding, what are the benchmarks for the response time, what are the processes that are in place? I am reflecting to this honourable chamber the concerns of the people of St Michael South Central with respect to the National Insurance Scheme.

“It makes no sense to adjust parameters and not to adjust service delivery. This is not a challenge to the executive leadership and the staff of the NIS. This is a challenge to the minister and the board to give those who work there the wherewithal to be able to deliver on the things that we say we will deliver in this legislation,” the economist said.

Caddle also called for a review of taxation on retirement plans.

“The issue is that you pay from your income into a retirement plan, your income is taxed when it goes in, and when you take money out of the retirement plan, it is taxed at the point of taking money out. Principles of taxation tells us that ought not to be done,” she said.

“There are similar concerns about the taxing of pensions that are payable to people once they reach the pensionable age. The similar idea is that if my income is taxed at the time to which some of it is contributed to my pension, why is it taxed again? There is space I think to consider some of these things.”

Read our ePaper. Fast. Factual. Free.