If the coalition administration is serious about providing a ‘good life’ for all, then certainly the pension being paid is insufficient and should be addressed as a major priority in the 2019 budget.

This viewpoint was recently expressed by Chartered Accountant, John Seeram.

In a missive to the media, the head of the Guyana Institute of Internal Auditors (GIIA) reminded that in September 2015, the pension was $17,000 and in the year 2018, it had increased by $2,500 to $19,500.

Seeram said, “It can be argued that over the three years, there was a 15 percent increase. However, is this a significant increase to the pensioners? Yes, the government has been working towards creating an environment which is supportive of socio-economic development with the objective of ensuring a ‘good life’ for all. But if we are striving for a ‘good life’ for all, then certainly the pension being paid is insufficient…”

The Chartered Accountant added, “This pension, like other pensions globally, should be at a minimum amount for the pensioner to live comfortably, and it is expected that it will be subsidized by the pensioner in the form of savings, contributions by relatives, remittances from overseas, etc. in order to meet a livable amount.”

Seeram also noted that pensions are not increased in an objective manner by the government. He reiterated that each year, it is increased by an incremental percentage, and this is known in the financial literature as Incremental Budgeting.

“It is the view that Zero-Based Budgeting should be applied to determine a livable pension. In keeping with best practices, it should be addressed upwardly each time a new budget is formulated. The way forward is to do a Means Test, whereby on a monthly basis, an estimated amount is required, for example for food, transportation, medical, utilities, accommodation. An estimated minimum monthly amount should, therefore, be approximately $30,000 of which the major expenditure will be medical, food and transportation…” the Chartered Accountant expressed.

Seeram also called for the authorities to do an early review on the life expectancy in Guyana and consider lowering the pensionable age perhaps to 63 years, based on the authentic global statistics.

In this regard, he highlighted that the latest World Health Organization data, Life Expectancy in Guyana is 63.6 years for a male and 69 years for a female, a total average life expectancy of 66 years. Given this fact, he insists that the government’s review of the pension package needs to be reviewed urgently.


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