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May 29, 2006

Regional Social Security officials meet in Belize

Story PictureIn most countries of the world there are two institutions that never seem to have a problem with cash flow. One is the Central Bank and the other is Social Security. Today the Belize Social Security Board hosted a gathering of sister institutions from around the Americas. The purpose was to share ideas on how to expand coverage while at the same time protecting their assets. News Five’s Alyssa Noble reports.

Prime Minister Said Musa
?The strong and the powerful can protect themselves, those who lose most in the absence of effective social institutions are the weak, the poor, the middle class and the vulnerable.?

The president of the International Social Security Association, Corazon de La Paz, says that it is with these sentiments in mind that representatives of S.S.B.?s around the world are expected to discuss pressing social issues.

Corazon de La Paz, President, I.S.S.A.
?We are looking at extending the coverage of social security to as many people as possible and to have members of the informal sector, migrant workers and even the indigenous groups in the various countries in the region.?

?In Latin America, issues like labour, unemployment and economic development are part and parcel of the discussions. In Africa, last year, when we had a meeting in Zambia, a lot of discussion was focused on health care and social security reform. Even the issue of social security reform is very important in this part of the world in fact just about anywhere.?

And while reform is a hot topic of conversation here in Belize, particularly the use of public funds for private investment, de La Paz says that as long as returns on the investment are guaranteed, the use of public funds to finance private initiatives is not only customary, but also encouraged.

Corazon de la Paz
?Our different countries have different ways of making investments, to be able to get better yields out of the money that will then have to be paid out to beneficiaries. However, if other investments can be made for social security protection or development of the country, as long as you can be ensured of getting a return on the funds that you invest that will also be welcomed. In many countries, a lot of investments are made in treasury bills for different projects for the government but at the end of the day, the more important feature of investments is to ensure that funds are returned to you with a yield that will be sufficient to give better benefits to the members.?

Narda Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of the Belize Social Security Board believes that although S.S.B. is celebrating twenty-five years of achievement, the tension of recent controversy can be seen in a positive light.

Narda Garcia, C.E.O., Social Security Board
?The impact of social security in the society is massive, it cannot be understated in any sense. However, there have been controversial issues affecting especially the investment aspect of social security. And if you have some time and talk to some of the delegates here from other countries, you will find that that is usually the problem in social security institutions. However, I think what has happened in the past will serve as example and will serve as issues that we will know what to do and what not to do and how we can move on and how we can strengthen social security.?

Alyssa Noble reporting for News Five.

A travelling exhibit chronicling the creation and development of social security is making the rounds of S.S.B. offices throughout the country. The conference, held at the Biltmore, runs through Wednesday.

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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