Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (centre), looks over a document while on tour of the NIS. Also pictured are Chairman of the NIS Board, Tony Marshall and Assistant Director of Short Term Benefits, Beverley Marshall.
(A. Miller/BGIS)

With only an estimated 20 to 25 per cent of the informal sector contributing to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Minister of Labour and Social Security, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, is making the call for increased contributions from that segment of society.

She made this appeal after a tour of the NIS’ Culloden Road, St. Michael offices yesterday, where she met with members of staff.

Admitting that this problem was not unique to Barbados, but a challenge many other countries were grappling with, the Minister, however, cautioned that contribution to the scheme became very important when persons retired.

"When they all retire…that is when persons look to see what they can get from the National Insurance [Scheme]…I want to see that more people understand the importance of contributing to National Insurance.?? The benefits far outweigh the costs today," she stressed.

Minister Byer Suckoo was adamant that she was not only speaking about vendors and hawkers, but doctors, lawyers and accountants, who have not been fully convinced of the need to make contributions to the NIS.?? She further urged the department to step up its public relations programme by encouraging more persons to contribute.

The social services offered by the scheme also came in for high praise from the Minister, who pointed out that when compared to similar institutions in the region, Barbadians received more social benefits than most of their Caribbean counterparts and had been doing so for at least two generations. She reiterated Government’s commitment to ensuring that the scheme remains healthy for Barbadians to access.


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