Low International Reserves Hurting Barbados NIS Investment

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tuesday October 31, 2017 – Barbados’ dwindling foreign reserves situation is getting in the way of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) investing abroad.

NIS Chairman Dr Justin Robinson disclosed that an actuary review had recommended that at least 20 per cent of the National Insurance Fund’s investment should be overseas.

However, with the country’s foreign reserves plummeting to about 9.7 weeks of imports to BDS$635.5 million (US$317.7 million) at the end of June, the economist said the current situation made it impractical to invest that much abroad.

Stressing that politics was not a consideration, he explained that investing one-fifth of the fund’s BDS$5 billion (US$2.5 billion) overseas would put a strain on the already under pressure international reserves.

“There is no political pressure driving the investment policy of the NIS, and there is no ignoring of the actuary. But as you seek to deploy those funds you are struck with the practical realities of placing those funds in a small economy,” Robinson said.

The refurbishment of that facility was funded by the NIS to the tune of BDS$2.2 million (US$1.1 million), which Robinson said came from “part of its surplus funds”.

“The actuary is recommending there should be 20 per cent overseas and no more than 50 per cent should be in the Government of Barbados and 30 per cent then implies, would be invested locally.”

The NIS currently has about 75 per cent of its investment in Government papers. (Barbados Today)

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