KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett says the initial $250 million of the $1 billion committed to long-awaited Tourism Workers Pension Scheme by the Government has been paid over to the newly selected-fund manager, Sagicor Jamaica Limited.
“The long awaited Tourism Workers Pension Scheme has reached another milestone. We can now announce that we have an Investment Manager, which is Sagicor and finalizing arrangements with a Fund -Administrator. Additionally J$250 million of the J$1 billion from the Ministry’s injection has been disbursed to seed the fund to ensure these workers have a pension,” said Minister Bartlett.
He noted that he is currently awaiting the House’s approval of the regulations, which will pave the way for the Scheme’s implementation, once industry workers return to their jobs.
“The well-being of our workers in the industry remains a priority for us at the Ministry of Tourism. We are forging ahead with this scheme because we want to ensure that after the coronavirus (COVID-19) has passed, the pension programme will be in place,” said the Minister.
The pension scheme is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation and will require mandatory contributions by workers and employers.
The Tourism Workers Pension Scheme is designed to cover all workers ages 18-59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed, the ministry said. It further noted that this includes hotel workers as well as persons employed in other tourism subsectors such as craft vendors, tour operators, red cap porters, contract carriage operators and workers at attractions.
Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.
The Ministry of Tourism is providing $1 billion to seed the fund, so that immediate benefits can accrue to qualified pensioners, who have met the vested period of five years.