“In the narrowest of senses, the National Insurance Board (NIB) has benefited some Bahamians. That is what is seen. What is unseen is the creation of false expectations that the money will be available for future retirees.”
Sometimes the Public Relations Express for the National Insurance Board (NIB) gets rolling along and people get scooped up for the ride, believing, and encouraging others to think, that the NIB is the peoples saviour.
Can one deny that people have been helped? Of course not. But it’s easy to say one has helped someone when they use other people’s money to do so. Even your cold hearted, not so humble blogger, would be knighted for a scheme like that.
Has the NIB been feeding the public (government) finances? You bet. But the question we should be asking is, should the government force us to pay taxes under the guise of a retirement scheme to fund public projects?
Did the government use $22 million of the fund to pay benefits that helped people that were unemployed? You bet. But here again we should ask if it is right to take money from some people to give it to others? If I held a gun to you and emptied your wallet and gave the money to whomever I choose, I should rightfully go to jail.
One fact often left out is that, according to the NIB’s own actuarial review, if serious measures, I say drastic measures, are not taken, the fund will be depleted by 2031 if I remember correctly. That means less benefits or higher taxes or both in the future.
So the government has taken money from the citizens and used it as they wish, for political purposes, and when future generations wish to collect the funds they have paid in to the system, the cheque will bounce.
Pretty neat political trick I would say.
Here’s another interesting twist. Try collecting your pension when you reach the age of retirement. The NIB has the nerve to tell you sorry you cannot collect your full pension and work too.
Some nerve! Don’t forget your collecting the money you paid into the scheme in the first place!
So what would I have done, if I were a politician? (I know, that won’t happen!)
I thought you would never ask.
If saving for one’s retirement is a national priority, as much as I hate political force, I would have mandated that everybody pay into a plan, but the funds would be kept in private hands for investment and the government would not have access.
There was a case in the past where a private business used the staff pension for personal investments and the funds were lost.
We were told that this was tantamount to theft and the owner should go to jail, yet here we are touting the benefits of the government doing virtually the same thing to us.
The fact that there are legitimate charitable cases notwithstanding, the reality is, the NIB is a travesty, and The Bahamian people have been unwitting accomplices.
In the narrowest of senses, the NIB has benefited some Bahamians. That is what is seen. What is unseen is the creation of false expectations that the money will be available for future retirees.
I’m not sure I would say that overall the NIB benefits The Bahamas or Bahamians.