Social Security Pension Workshop in Majuro a big success
Modify Bill No. 43 and reintroduce as a new bill; and require by law Government appropriation of at least $6 million every year, beginning FY 2017 through 2026 – These are two extremely urgent appeals that MISSA raised to the RMI President, Cabinet and Nitijela during the just concluded Social Security Pension Workshop and consultation held in Majuro on April 25-29, 2016
The conference was sponsored by the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC) of the International Monetary Fund based in Suva, Fiji and the Bank of the Marshall Islands. To address social security issues on a regional scale, representatives from the Social Security Systems of Palau and FSM were invited, together with the Palau Civil Service Fund and FSM’s Ministry of Finance.
Also in attendance were MISSA’s investment and Fund consultants and actuary who had been working closely with the Administration since the planning stage of the workshop.
The first three days of the conference was focused mainly on social security and pension challenges faced by RMI, Palau and FSM. It is important to note that the governments of Palau and FSM have been very supportive through the years in terms of financial subsidies and backing to proposed legislations favorable to the social security system and pension fund of the two neighboring Pacific countries.
On the fourth day, MISSA facilitated an open forum with the general public, composed mainly of current beneficiaries, employers and a number of legislators. The fifth and last day was the most awaited part of the conference because it gave MISSA another opportunity to present the current financial health of the Social Security Retirement
Fund and a number of restructuring options being considered by the Administration.
It has been a public knowledge that the RMI Retirement Fund is depleting fast due to the widening gap between contributions and benefits. To meet benefit payments on time, MISSA has no option left but to continue its investment
drawdowns that totaled more than $20 million dollars since 2010. Based on the current financial trend, the Fund is expected to be fully depleted by 2023, or earlier if no changes are made to the current system and no government appropriation is received by MISSA.
In response to MISSA’s appeal for government intervention and assistance, the Speaker has formed a nine-member Task Force that will work hand-in-hand with MISSA and come up with a proposed legislation before the end of the current fiscal year.