This was the question MP Davendranath Tancoo posed to the Minister of Finance at the UNC’s virtual Monday Night Forum. According to MP Tancoo, the economy of Trinidad and Tobago continues its downward spiral as citizens are having difficulties in accessing their rightful benefits accrued under the National Insurance Scheme over their years of employment as law-abiding tax paying citizens of this country.
He noted that since 2017 the Executive Director of the NIB signalled the imminent financial crisis saying that “Our liabilities are projected to grow way into the future. The 9th Actuarial Review (of the National Insurance System) projected that if there is no reform, we must begin liquidating our assets in 2018/19”
Tancoo said instead of resolving this crisis the Minister of Finance has made it worse by blocking $1 billion of the Fund into the NIF, effectively preventing access to it by the NIB to meet its obligations to citizens. The Oro West MP reasoned that the revenue of the Fund will also have drastically decreased as a result of fewer contributions due to the mass employment over the last few years.
MP Tancoo asked whether the Minister of Finance is hiding the NIB Financial report for the last two years, in breach of his statutory duty, in an effort to avoid telling the population the truth about the state of the National Insurance System. Warning of an impending increase in NIS rates, Tancoo predicted hikes also in electricity and water rates, and that Government policies regarding WASA and the Port will lead to more unemployment.
Given that the Minister of Finance has presided over the collapse of the Trinidad and Tobago economy, MP Davendranath Tancoo has called for the dismissal of Minister Colm Imbert. Failure to do so, MP Tancoo said, means that the country will sink even deeper into debt and economic depression.
Davendranath Tancoo BA, LLB, MBA, LPC.
Member of Parliament