GOVERNMENT will take whatever action is necessary to safeguard the pensions of Petrotrin workers.
This was the assurance from Finance Minister Colm Imbert as he responded to a question from United National Congress (UNC) Senator Wade Mark in the Senate on Wednesday.
Imbert said Petrotrin had two pension plans, namely the Petrotrin Employees’ Pension Plan (PEPP) and the Staff Pension Plan. He said the last actuarial reports were prepared for the three years ending in September 2016 and are thus out of date.
He said in or around November 2019, a report was produced for simulation purposes which sought to address the long-term impact of Petrotrin’s restructuring on the two plans. Based on the simulation report, the Staff Pension Plan has adequate resources to meet all of its obligations whereas the Employees’ Pension Plan shows a possible deficit in 25 years for the scenarios that were simulated.
Imbert said Petrotrin had advised that actuarial valuations for the three years ending in September 2019 were currently in progress and would provide more accurate information on the funding status of both plans. These reports should be completed by June 2020, he said.
Imbert said the Ministry of Finance had also commissioned an independent actuary to conduct a valuation of the plans, and their ability to meet their liabilities, to provide the best possible information for decision-making purposes. This valuation should also be completed by June 2020, he said.
Govt dealing with blacklisting of T&T
In response to another question, Imbert said the Government was addressing all remaining strategic deficiencies in the national anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism and proliferation financing (AML/CFT/PF) regime of Trinidad and Tobago, which are under review by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). He said this was how the Government was addressing the issue of this country’s identification as a high-risk country by the European Union. He said strategic deficiences had been addressed by significant legislative and operational improvements to the regime.
Imbert said the country underwent an on-site assessment and examination of its authorities by the FATF during January 6-7, 2020 at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs. He said the Attorney General will attend before the FATF to receive the outcomes of this assessment at the upcoming FATF plenary meeting during February 16-21, 2020 in Paris, France.
Imbert said the Joint Select Committee, headed by himself, had completed comprehensive and extensive work on the package of tax legislation—Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters bill, 2018, the Tax Information Exchange Agreements Bill, 2018 and the Income Tax Amendment Bill, 2019—in order to ensure that there is full compliance with the requirements of the Global Forum.
He said the package of tax bills were carried over on September 20, 2019 and the Final Report of the JSC was laid on November 22, 2019 and will be imminently debated in the Parliament.
“Furthermore the Government is actively engaged with the EU Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago and the European Union representatives based in Brussels with regard to on-going technical assistance with this matter with full implementation of the standard of transparency and exchange of information in this country,” Imbert said.