December 28, 2009
Star News



Government pensioners get increase

The Ministry of Finance and Planning has made available $500 million to provide increases for government pensioners in 2009/10.

A Ministry Paper (Number 126/09) tabled by the Finance Minister Audley Shaw, in the House of Representatives recently, says $462.3 million is for government pensioners paid by the accountant general, while the other $37.6 million is for pensioners paid by local government authorities and statutory bodies.

According to the Ministry Paper, based on its assessments and discussions with the Jamaican Government Pensioners Associ-ation, it was agreed that the amount would ensure that retirees with a minimum 20 years' service receive minimum pension at a rate above the minimum wage.

The model outlined was follows:

(i) Increases to range from $1,350 per month for pensioners receiving $50,000 and over per month to $2,075 per month for pensioners receiving under $30,000 per month;

(ii) An increase of the current minimum pension from $8,000 per month to $15,000 per month for retirees with pensionable service between 10 and 20 years, and from $12,000 per month to $19,000 per month for retirees with pensionable service of 20 years or more.

These proposals have taken into consideration all pensioners who were in retirement for at least 21/2 years as at July 1, 2009; at least 55 years of age, but waived for persons retired on the ground of ill-health; and widows/widowers and dependants in receipt of pension prior to July 1, 2009.

The minimum pension for persons age 55 years and over and those pensioners who retired due to ill-health will be increased as follows: (a) Persons who served 10-20 years - $180,000 per year, up from $96,000 per year; (b) Persons who served 20 years or more - $228,000 a year up from $144,000 a year.

Approximately 22,000, or 86 per cent, of the 25,370 pensioners paid by the Accountant General's Depart-ment will receive increases. There are approximately 3,000 pensioners paid by other agencies. The increases will be retroactive to July 1, 2009.

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