Cabinet notes: The Director and Deputy Director of the Social Security (SSB) were invited to Cabinet to address the issue of compliance of firms with the requirements to pay contributions of employees, deducted from wages and salaries.
The Cabinet learned that 926 companies have closed their operations since the onset of Covid-19; 426 of these companies are still owing the SSB deductions totalling $9,000,000 approximately. Prior to 2020, firms owed the SSB a total of $27,000,000.
The Barbuda Council owes the SSB $21,000,000 for deductions made from wages and salaries but not paid over to the SSB. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has been paying its required contribution in full, and has provided additional amounts to meet the shortfall in revenue caused by the layoffs in the private sector.
In order to ensure greater compliance with payment requirements, 10 geographic zones have been created to which a total of ten Compliance Officers have been assigned. There are 4,300 private employers who normally employ most of the workers in the private sector — with the exception of the self-employed.
Construction workers, fisherfolk and some farmers –the self-employed– tend to pay nothing into the SSB; upon reaching old age, many discover that they cannot pursue their accustomed livelihoods and are plunged into poverty. Their current contributions to SSB are therefore an investment which will bear fruit in their declining years.
The SSB plans a series of radio and television series to inform and to nudge these self-employed workers to make regular contributions.
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