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Full confidence in NIF board, says Kellier

Published:Sunday | September 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Derrick Kellier, has expressed full confidence in the board that manages the National Insurance Fund (NIF) and provides advice on investments for the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).

The board, which began a new two-year term earlier this year, is chaired by economist Ralston Hyman.

According to Kellier, the work of the board, past and present, has resulted in the very robust economic position of the NIF, which stands at approximately $70 billion, and has led to growth in the investment portfolio of the fund.

"Already, we are investing in the areas of construction, manufacturing, tourism, financial services and real estate, and there are some huge investment projects in the pipeline," declared Kellier.

"Through the NIF, we have acquired office spaces in most parishes throughout Jamaica, in addition to the acquisition of land in St Ann's Bay for the purpose of building a new office and renting space," added Kellier.

He noted that the NIF has acquired a property in May Pen for the construction of an office and business complex, with a view to enhancing its rental income.

Poised for remarkable results

Kellier said pensioners are relying on the board for the continued growth of the fund, "and from all indications it seems poised to achieve some remarkable results."

Kellier was speaking at the official opening of the upgraded parish office of the ministry in Falmouth, Trelawny, last week. The Government spent $100 million to refurbish and extend the building.

This is the second time that Kellier has sought to assure that nation that the NIF remains viable.

In April 2013, Kellier responded to concerns about the impact of the National Debt Exchange on the fund and declared that the benefits of pensioners were not in jeopardy.

"Let me assure all of our pensioners that you can set your minds at ease, as you have absolutely nothing to worry about. The NIF remains strong and vibrant ...," declared Kellier then.

Benefits from the NIS are funded by the NIF.

The NIS is a compulsory social security scheme for workers, which provides financial protection to its contributors and their families against loss of income arising from injury on the job, incapacity, retirement or death. It also has maternity allowance for domestic workers, a health plan for all contributors, grants for funerals, widow and widower's pensions, and orphan's allowance.