Opposition wants details about social insurance programmeWednesday, February 24, 2021
OPPOSITION spokesman on labour and social security Senator Dr Floyd Morris is calling for more details about the social insurance programme announced by Government recently.
“Whilst we welcome the initiative, we need to have greater details on its operation,” Dr Morris said in a release.
“The Government had announced its intention to establish a social insurance programme in previous budgets; however, no further information had come to Parliament until a media release indicated that the fund had already been operationalised. We have not received any details on how beneficiaries will be selected, how they will be registered, who are the major target audiences, what are the controls that will be put in place to prevent fraud and abuse, and how it will be sustained,” said Dr Morris.
The Opposition spokesman said he was particularly unsettled with the developments, in light of the recent challenges with reports from the Auditor General's Department on various programmes operated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
He did not say what were the reports he had concerns about.
“This 'Nicodemus' approach to a very important programme is unacceptable. Both the public and the Parliament should have access to all aspects of the initiative to ensure that the poor and vulnerable in Jamaica are protected. We do not want a scheme set up by the Government where taxpayers' money can be scammed away,” he said.
He urged the minister of labour and social security to urgently table a ministry paper in the Parliament, outlining all aspects of the social insurance programme.
The Social Pension Scheme, recently approved by the Government, will be implemented in the second quarter of the 2021/22 fiscal year, between July and September.
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, who announced the programme in the Throne Speech last week, said the scheme will benefit people 75 years and older “who are not in receipt of a private or public pension, other retirement income, or social protection benefits and are not within a government-owned institutionalised facility”.
The new pension programme will provide $3,400 per month to each beneficiary and index benefit levels to half of the minimum pension under the National Insurance Scheme.
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