Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 14, 2017 (SKNIS): Senior Minister in the Federal Cabinet and Minister responsible for Labour and Social Security, Hon. Vance Amory, said he is optimistic about the strength of the Social Security scheme to continue to meet the needs of pensioners in the years to come.
That confidence is rooted in two factors. The first is the continued economic growth in St. Kitts and Nevis, which was recorded as 6.6 percent in 2015, over the same period in 2014. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, previously reported that the growth facilitated an average of $72.32 million in wages and salaries per month, which was an increase of 7 percent over 2014 figures.
On Tuesday (February 13), at the fourth town hall meeting in the “Good Governance and Accountability for Prosperity” series, Senior Minister Amory told the audience at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church that this was a positive sign.
“I want to suggest that with the pattern of development which is happening under the Team Unity government, that the contributions which will come from the employees and the employers will continue to grow,” he stated.
A change in the investment strategy by the Social Security Board was the other factor mentioned by Honourable Amory, who is also the Premier of Nevis and Minister responsible for Labour and Social Security in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA). He noted that several investments made in the past by Social Security did not pan out and resulted in losses.
“We are making Social Security now to become responsible for making accountable and responsible decisions based on good advice so that when they invest the people’s money that they do so knowing that it will be a safe investment, it will be a productive investment so that the fund can continue to grow, not just from contributions but from investment returns,” said the senior minister.
One of the recent investments under the new accountability system is the $60 million loan agreement to support the government’s housing solution programme, which calls for the construction of 300 homes over the next two years. Fifty million dollars is being loaned to the National Housing Corporation on St. Kitts and $10 million to the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation to fund the housing initiative.
A groundbreaking ceremony is planned on Friday (February 17) to symbolically mark the start of the housing programme. The event takes place at Corner House, Wellington Road in Basseterre, at 9:30 a.m.