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No cause for panic, says Howai

By Ria Taitt

Finance Minister Larry Howai said yesterday that the deficit in the National Insurance Fund was manageable and there was no cause for panic.

He, however, pointed to certain challenges. He said the problem of under-funding was compounded by the low interest rate environment and the changing demographic whereby a smaller working population was providing for a larger and larger retired population.

Speaking on the Finance Act, during the sitting of the House of Representatives, Tower D, Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, Howai said the bill would also amend the retiring allowances for legislators to provide for a pension to be paid to persons who ceased to be an MP before November 21, 1996, and served for less than five years.

He said before this period an MP had to serve eight years to qualify for a pension. The law currently allows persons who served after November 1996 and for a period of less than five years to receive a pension.

Howai said the bill would also amend the current legislation to include pension payment for the widow/widower of retired legislators.

The Minister said legislation for the regulation of the gaming industry would be completed and passed in 18 months and the implementation of the institutional arrangements to give effect to the legislation would be established one year after that.

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