Manning: Winter is coming for the non-compliant | Local company

There are 4,000 employers in Trinidad and Tobago who are fraudulently failing to pay their contributions to the National Insurance Board (NIB), said government minister Brian Manning.

However, he warned that “winter is coming” and authorities will crack down on people who don’t comply.

He revealed this during the debate on the National Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the Senate yesterday.

The Bill seeks to amend the National Insurance Act, Cap. 32:01 to provide for waiver of penalties and interest, to increase penalty for providing false information, to increase statutory limitation for commencement of summary proceedings and other related matters.

Independent Senator Anthony Vieira noted that the NIB faces many challenges.

He wondered how many people had been charged with making false statements and producing false documents.

He further asks how many cases have been brought by the NIB to recover sums owed to the Commission.

Vieira said if there is no law enforcement it makes no sense

Manning said he introduced a method to detect companies that have not made their contributions.

“We estimate that there are approximately 4,000 employers in Trinidad and Tobago who are fraudulently failing to pay dues,” he said.

Vieira said that under this law you cannot hide behind a corporate veil, you can get behind any director, manager, officer involved in the offence.

He said that unlike typical summary misdemeanors, you have three years to bring the charge.

“I was really hoping to hear that the NIB was going to get serious with the app,” he said.

Manning said he has improved detection.

“We are much better at this stage to see which employers are not following the law…absolutely after the amnesty period we will prosecute these offending employers, I can assure you of that,” he said.

‘Add value’

Manning said the bill is twofold in its approach as on the one hand it provides for the waiver of penalties and interest on unpaid National Insurance contributions for the period July 31, 2022 to December 31, 2022 while d On the other hand simultaneously, it strengthens the enforcement provisions against such false declarations or representations to the NIB.

Manning said that in the first waiver, a total of 2,310 employers took the opportunity to make overdue National Insurance contribution payments, resulting in an additional $36.8 million in unpaid contributions.

However, he said this was only a small percentage of the contribution income received in 2012, as the exemption was limited only to employers who were registered with the NIB before October 10, 2012 and it is not There was no possibility at that time for new employers to come. in the national insurance system and benefit from the derogation.

He said the proposed bill applies to both registered employers existing before June 30, 2022 and employers who will register during the opt-out period which will run from July 31, 2022 to December 31, 2022.

The Minister noted that the NIB has faced some challenges over the years and that there has been a gap between the contributions and the benefits of the NIB for the national insurance scheme or system for several years.

“The number of people in the labor force, in terms of people of working age, etc., is also decreasing. So we have an aging population situation, more people receiving retirement benefits and then a reduction in the number of people of working age,” Manning said.

He said the bill helps the NIB temporarily bridge the gap between contributions and benefits.

He said that during the Sanctions Waiver or Amnesty period, the NIB would be the recipient of additional contribution revenue, thereby adding value to the National Insurance Fund.

He said non-payment of NIS by employers was an ongoing problem facing our country.

This, he said, deprives many people, especially in low-income groups, of access to much-needed benefits while simultaneously enriching the coffers of employers who avoid making payments.

Manning said the fine and custodial sentence were quite low, so this bill significantly increases applicable penalties as a strong deterrent to people who would like to submit false information during the waiver period. and in the future.