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Raise retirement age

By Sasha Harrinanan Saturday, December 14 2013

Staff at the Treasury Division of the Finance Ministry are committed to “accelerating reform” to bring the largely manual operations into the 21st Century, says Comptroller of Accounts, Roselyn Ramdin-Doobraj.

“The current manual operations have long ceased to address new demands. A timely reminder was the just-concluded Public Expenditure Assessment by the European Union on Trinidad and Tobago.

It identified certain areas for improvement which, if not addressed, could impact the country’s image. Therefore it is imperative to act with haste and address the need for reform of the financial management system, including compliance with international standards and acquisition of an integrated financial information system.”

The Comptroller of Accounts noted that benefits of introducing a modern, integrated, system included real-time access to data by key stakeholders, and the availability of timely information for decision makers.

“When compared with our Caribbean neighbours, we lag way behind. Therefore the Treasury is committed to the acceleration of the reform,” Ramdin-Doobraj stated.

She gave the commitment to do so while speaking at the Treasury Division’s third annual “Celebrating Our Stars” function for retirees and long-service awardees, held on Thursday evening at Hilton Trinidad, Port-of-Spain.

To date, the division has completed staff training in the use of a new Integrated Debt Recording and Management System, which is being implemented with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

“We intend to complete the 2012 public debt statement, due on January 31, 2014, using this system,” Ramdin-Doobraj said.

Division staff were also addressed by Trade Minister and Minister in the Finance Ministry, Vasant Bharath, who spoke of the need for “employers and employees to start having a conversation about raising the retirement age.”

Referring to Nelson Mandela’s many achievements in his 70s, and to the more than 900 years of combined service from this year’s 28 retirees, Bharath said reaching the age of 60 does not mean the end of one’s ability to contribute to society.

Speaking with Newsday afterward, the minister said raising the retirement age in TT may not be on Government’s agenda at the moment, but with many older citizens living a “fitter lifestyle,” who are often abreast of the latest technology, “it’s something that we could consider,”he added.

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