Since the last budget, I have been calling on the Minister of Finance Colm Imbert to present the NIB reports for 2019 and 2020 to the Parliament yet he continued to ignore our calls. It was only when he was challenged in court that he was forced to run to Parliament today, to lay reports which should have been presented since 2019.
Minister Imbert’s haste to lay these reports is an admission of his guilt of negligence and breach of his statutory duties in laying these reports in a timely manner.
It is clear to see why the Minister would risk bringing his office and Gazetted duties into disrepute as the elements contained within the report paint a grave and troubling picture regarding employment and the fate of hundreds of thousands of pensioners.
It is shameful that the Minister tried to discuss in just ten minutes today, the failed issues of the fund which he hid for over two years.
We now see some of what was being hidden. These reports clearly highlight that under the Rowley regime, as at June 2020, 113,000 people have lost their jobs since 2015. This is proven by the significant decrease in the number of contributors to the fund.
The NIB Fund has been pushed to the point of insolvency due to the decline in contributions by over 112 thousand persons.
It is extremely worrying that the rumours of the pension age being raised from 60 to 65 might be true given this government’s failure to manage the fund effectively.
I am calling on the Government to state whether the pensions of hundreds of thousands of our citizens are in jeopardy after the grim facts in these NIB reports.
This Rowley regime has been the least transparent government in our history demonstrating a clear policy of denying the public vital information on the nature of State agencies and deliberately running from those demanding the truth. An ordinary citizen had to go to court to demand transparency from this PNM Government.
Try as he might, Keith Rowley cannot run from the truth forever – the truth is now catching up with his lies.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition