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Put NHT refunds of low income earners into NIS accounts - says JCC President

Published:Wednesday | April 6, 2016 | 4:57 PM
President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Warren McDonald, is arguing that instead of giving low income earners their refunds upfront, the money should be transferred to their National Insurance Scheme accounts.

President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Warren McDonald, says the system for the payout of National Housing Trust (NHT) refunds to low income earners should be changed.

McDonald is arguing that instead of giving these contributors the money upfront, the funds should be transferred to their National Insurance Scheme (NIS) accounts.

The NIS is a compulsory contributory scheme for all employed persons and the scheme makes payouts to contributors upon retirement.

Noting that the NIS payments are usually not enough, McDonald says these funds can be boosted if NHT refunds are included in them. 

The JCC president argues that year after year many Jamaicans earning low wages contribute to the NHT, but will not get a loan from the Trust to buy a house because of their low income.

The JCC president notes that NHT contributors qualify for a refund seven years, but instead of putting this money away for a rainy day low income earners use it to buy consumer goods.

McDonald argues that many of these low income earners who cannot get a NHT loan are also the same individuals who are not a part of a pension scheme and whose only source of income on retirement is the NIS.

That’s why he is arguing for the NHT refunds of these contributors to be set aside in their NIS accounts so that they can have access to more money when they retire.