Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017. 10:04 am CST.
By Richard Harrison: The Belize Social Security Board (BSSB) has advised employers and employees of Belize that they plan to raise “contributions” in early 2018.
Their primary reason given is that they have not increased contributions for a long time, since around 2003.
If BSSB total “contributions” collected in 2015 was BZ$77 million….and BZ$13.50 per week is the minimum contribution per person….then only a maximum of 109, 687 persons were paying social security. This number will be less, because many persons contribute more than BZ$13.50 per week.
Yet the Statistical Unit of Belize reported that on April 15, 2013 there were 131,000 in the employed labor force.
By 2015 the employed labor force must have reached at least around 145,000….and would be now closer to 155,000.
Perhaps this is the reason the BSSB have already advised employers and employees that they intend to raise “contributions” in 2018….because they are not being efficient and effective in collecting contributions from all workers….25% of workers are not paying.
If they were collecting from 130,000 workers today…their minimum collections would be BZ$91 million….and they could expand and enhance KHMH and Western Regional Hospitals to offer the range and quality of health services that BSSB contributors and Belizeans, in general, are seeking in Mexico and Guatemala….at their own expense….that they might stay alive.
Perhaps these workers are not paying for good reason….because those who pay see little to no benefit…the most of social security fund is being used by politicians as a slush fund to play their games with the utility companies….and to gamble the poor people’s money in “private investments” of mostly cronies.
As usual in Belize, it is easier to collect increased taxes from those who pay….than to go seek out those who evade and/or avoid….Belize has around 75% Don Quijotes…..while 25% ride free….this is the same story across all taxes.
The BSSB, including the NHI portion that is hidden, needs a complete independent forensic audit….especially of the process of selecting the auditors that sign on their annual reports.
The BSSB must be required to pay for such an audit….but the audit team must be chosen by a range of interested parties, with the unions having weighted influence…..not by the existing politically appointed Board of Governors. The people see them as the rat taking care of the cheese.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
This article was written by Richard Harrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.
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