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Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 02, 2021 (SKNIS): Self-employed persons in St. Kitts and Nevis were strongly encouraged to become insured with St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board so that they can look ahead with hope for business continuity and dignified retirement.

The appeal was made by Minister responsible Social Security, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, during a national address to mark the 25th Anniversary of Self-Employed Coverage in the Federation. The address aired on July 01, 2021, the date of the anniversary.

“Today, there are 5,862 self-employed persons registered with social security across all sectors of employment,” Minister Hamilton stated. “These insured persons are guaranteed pecuniary payments in times of need, sickness, maternity, invalidity, survivors and age pensions amongst others.”

Data on the average distribution of registered self-employed across the top five sectors for the period 2015 to 2019 revealed that 20 percent engaged in wholesale and retail; 16 percent engaged in construction; 14 percent were involved in transportation, storage and communication, while 11 percent engaged in real estate, renting and business activities, and 10 percent engaged in community, social and personal activities.

“All of the available data show that self-employed coverage serves the needs of the self-employed with meaningful pay-outs in benefits and an average age pension of $1,101.00 per month as of December 2020,” Minister Hamilton said.

“This sector is by far the fastest growing and even more so now with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as people are finding innovative means to provide for themselves; many of them in non-traditional informal work situations that pose serious challenges for securing their full participation in Social Security,” he added.

Honourable Hamilton noted that some self-employed persons are not fully up-to-date.

“The 70% non-compliant self-employed must be prepared to step to the plate and shoulder their responsibility in partnership and solidarity with the 30% compliant cohort… solidarity with all of those other insured persons who are covered by their employers,” the minister indicated.

He urged “all stakeholders to safeguard our social security fund. We have a responsibility to pay contributions on time, report incidences of non-compliance, and pay keen attention to social security systems worldwide,” said Minister Hamilton.

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