Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 30, 2021 (SKNIS): Figures from the 13thActuarial Review of the Social Security Fund as of December 31, 2020, indicate that the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security system remains strong but must continue to diversify to ensure greater sustainability.
Honourable Eugene Hamilton, Minister with responsibility for Social Security, laid copies of the latest actuarial report on the table of the National Assembly during a sitting on Thursday, September 30, 2021. The minister quoted three positive takeaways from the report. The report is done every three years.
The first point notes that the net total assets of Social Security have grown from $1.522 billion in 2017, when the last actuarial report was done, to $1.672 billion in 2020. That is an increase of $150 million over the period January 01, 2018, to December 31, 2020.
Secondly, the actuarial report indicates that during the aforementioned 2018-2020 period, employment numbers peaked at 29,000, the highest employment figures ever recorded. Expectedly, this number has since declined due to the economic woes created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thirdly, the 12th Actuarial Review of the Social Security Fund as of December 31, 2017, indicated that on its current path, without corrective action, the Social Security Fund would be depleted optimistically by 2041. Two more years were added in the 13th Actuarial Review of the Social Security Fund. The optimistic date has increased to 2043, which demonstrates improvement in the viability of the Fund.
Minister Hamilton said that important discussions must take place within the Cabinet, with civil society, and with the public to discuss recommendations in the actuarial review to strengthen the viability of the Social Security Fund. Among the recommendations are increasing the retirement age from 62 to 65 years, as well as increasing the period when persons are eligible to receive 60 percent of their wage/salary from Social Security.
Minister Hamilton said that notwithstanding these considerations, “the Social Security system is strong, is robust. And while I say that it is strong and robust, we as a Cabinet, as a Parliament, and as a people, we have a responsibility to ensure that it remains strong and grows, that its life is lengthened to be able to deliver the benefits to those who are deserving.”