[ARANGUEZ, June 14] — The Employers’ Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ECA) wishes to comment on Clauses 4 to 6 of the proposed Miscellaneous Provisions (Tax Amnesty, Pensions, Freedom of Information, National Insurance, Central Bank and Non-Profit Organisations) Bill, 2019.
These Clauses, seek to amend the Pension provisions of the Retiring Allowances (Legislative Service) Act, Ch. 2:03; the President’s Emoluments Act, Ch. 2:50; the Prime Minister’s Pensions Act, Ch. 2:51 and the Judges Salaries and Pensions Act, Ch. 6:02.
In our analysis, the proposal to include housing and personal allowances, in addition to base salary, as the basis for calculating pension payments is highly unusual and contrary to existing practice in the majority of other comparable and progressive jurisdictions. Moreover, the issue of periodic reviews, though not uncommon, should also be based on measured economic factors such as inflation, the overall cost of living, and the financial position of the country as opposed to the simply the emoluments of the incumbent at the time of review.
The ECA urges those responsible for tabling these proposals to consider the precedent to be set and the message being sent to our citizens, especially other public servants, at a time when the clarion call continually recited is for everyone to make the necessary adjustments, and “do more with less,” in consideration of the uncertainty of our future national coffers. In this regard, we are compelled to question the drivers, justification and timing of these proposed changes. The role of the Salaries Review Commission (SRC) also remains unclear in this process as is the total financial impact on the Treasury.
Certainly, the ECA stands ready to engage with the relevant authorities, but trusts that the Government will critically assess its position on this issue and reconsider its communicated intention to advance the proposal in question. As we individually and collectively do our part to ensure our nation’s ability to surmount these difficult socio-economic circumstances, let us endeavour to bequeath a legacy for future generations that is sustainable and of which we can be proud.
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