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Mar 1, 2023

P.M. Says Unions Set the Timeline for Implementing Pension Reform

Prime Minister John Briceño

Coupled with the unfreezing of increments is the discussion and implementation of pension reform.  Last Friday, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize came out in support of its sister unions on a number of issues related to the return of increment.  On the matter of pension reform, the umbrella organization€ chided the government for what it considers to be a very short timeline for research and consultation on the proposed changes.


Prime Minister John Briceño

“They are the ones that set the timeline, it’s not us.  They are saying that they want everything done by the first of April, and so we just responding, well if you want to do the first of April, let’s sit down and get it done.  It can be done.  We are going to have a meeting tomorrow and our representatives in that committee, the DPM [Deputy Prime Minister] and Minister Fonseca, Henry Charles [Usher] and Chris [Coye].  We have already told them more or less or what it is that we can do, and so definitely the increments, but we need to put now a system in place for increments to be given based on merits.  The pension reform, I think the first step is that there is, and the unions have already accepted, that yes, they agree that there is supposed to be pension reform and they are saying well they want to start at ground zero.  If we were to do that, it is going to take us thirty years before we start to really feel the benefits of it.  Thirty years from now, the amount that we are going to be paying will be incredibly high, so we simply cannot afford it.  And so we will sit down with them and try to find a way how we can implement it, probably it will take more than six weeks, of course, it probably will, but the important point is that once both groups said yes, we need to do it and these are the parameters and then work towards it.”

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