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Government withdraws proposal for self-employed to pay NIS

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

Government has temporarily withdrawn its proposal making it compulsory for self-employed persons to pay National Insurance.

The measure was brought to the House of Representatives for debate and approval on Monday as part of the Finance Bill. However, it provoked criticism from Opposition MP Colm Imbert, who argued Government should not bring such a significant change to the Insurance Act without a proper explanation of what it was doing.

He also contended the bill was infringing on people's fundamental rights and therefore it required a special majority.

In winding up the debate, Finance Minister Larry Howai said Government was "agreeable to withdrawing the proposals made with respect to the self-employed... based on the comments that have been made".

"We would like to take another look at it and perhaps come back with a separate piece of legislation, maybe in March of this year, to facilitate an implementation in July," Howai said.

The Finance Bill also sought to make legal the increase in NIS contributions from the present rate of 11.4 per cent to 11.7 per cent in 2013, and 12.0 per cent in 2014. This would result in a small increase of 0.1 per cent for employees and 0.2 per cent for employers in 2013, and a similar increase in 2014.

The bill also legalises the taxes payable on gambling tables and other devices which were announced in the budget.

The bill also increases the fine for littering from $50 to $500 for a. persons who deposit litter in public places, b. drivers depositing litter from a motor vehicle; c. persons transporting on a motor vehicle or trailer any material which is likely to fall off or blow off; and d. an owner who fails to provide a receptacle on a bus or taxi for litter.

The bill also extends the tax exemption on dividend income to unit holders of the CLICO Investment Funds. The bill was passed by a simple majority. It will be debated in the Senate today.

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