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Pension contributions scheme ends

Just 140 private pension plans had contributions suspended under a scheme introduced by the former Government.

In a bid to provide some relief to employers and their workers who were struggling economically, employers and their staff were allowed to suspend private pension contributions for a year under the National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Temporary Amendment Act 2012 passed last year.

Yesterday, the Pensions Commission reminded the public that the measure has now expired and that pension contributions for August 2013 and onwards had to be made.

Peter Sousa, CEO of the Pension Commission said of the 2,928 pension plans, just 140 were affected by the temporary measure.

“The Commission is pleasantly surprised that it appears to be such a small amount,” he said.

Last night Chamber of Commerce presdient Ronnie Viera said he too was surprised at the low take up, but personally believed that the programme should continue until the economy picks up.

“I think it is a surprisingly low number however from a long term perspective, it is good,” Mr Viera said.

“Suspending pension contributions really should be a last resort given the obvious impact it can have on a person's post retirement income. Notwithstanding that, I think they should allow companies to continue the suspension until the economy improves. Clearly there is a need, albeit small and there is no cost to Government in doing so.”

Besides the public reminder from the Pension Commission that the temporary scheme has ended, Pensions administrators will also be writing to the affected clients.

Then Premier Paula Cox steered the measure through the House of Assembly in May last year, saying it would provide “short-term relief” to employers and employees who needed it.

Occupational pension plans became mandatory under legislation passed in 1998.

The amount of assets held within the 2,928 plans is approximately $1.75 billion, but another $325 million is held in individual retirement plans.

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Published September 06, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 06, 2013 at 12:49 am)

Pension contributions scheme ends

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