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Mar 10, 2023

How Many Years Of Service To Be Exempted from Contributory Public Pension Scheme?

Prime Minister John Briceño

On Thursday, we told you about the agreement between the Government of Belize and the Joint Unions Negotiation Team for the implementation of a phased approach to the Public Sector Pension Reform.  Today, Prime Minister Briceño further elaborated on why the current public sector pension scheme is unsustainable, noting that by the end of the current fiscal year, G.O.B. would have spent ninety-five million dollars in pension payouts. That figure is expected to increase to one hundred million dollars in the new fiscal year. He contends that the government cannot sustain this level of expenditure. So, what are the details of this newly agreed upon phased approach to pension reform? P.M. Briceño gave us some insight following his budget speech.


Prime Minister John Briceño

“The first time this came to my attention was in 2004 with then Prime Minister Musa and I think the pension bill at that time was around thirty million dollars and now where we are at hundred million dollars. It has to be done. There are neither ifs nor buts. The irony of it all is that we are making these decisions that will not benefit our government because as a government we will not be able to get the real benefit of what we are doing until all these people have come out of the system. With the unions, we knew that we did not have enough time by April first. We said let us take it in two phases. The first phase is that the union agrees that every, any new entrance starting the first of July will have to pay a part of a contributory pension scheme. The idea is that ten percent of their salaries is going to be set aside,. They are going to be paying ten percent and the government is going to match it with ten percent. But, secondly, we are saying that in phase two we have to sit down with the unions to say where the cutoff date is. They would like to keep things as they are and say only the new ones, but we can’t. We owe it to the Belizean people. The idea is twofold, to be able to get to a cutoff point, be it people that have served twenty years, fifteen years, depends on the negotiations. Let us say people that have worked for more than fifteen years in the system will stay in the contributory pension scheme and those under fifteen years will have to start to continue to their pension.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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