Minister Emil Lee presenting his Ministry’s plans.
PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA Emil said during Tuesday’s presentation of the year plans that his Ministry is bound by budget constraints and outdated legislation.
The Ministry’s budget stands at NAf. 53.6 million. Of this, NAf. 16.7 million is to be spent on social security and medical aid, and NAf. 15.2 million on sickness insurance.
Lee said the VSA Ministry with its mission “to secure the wellbeing of people” is “often the last resort the less fortunate can turn to for help.”
Lee said it is his Ministry’s objective to enhance residents’ quality of life through health reform, social reform, and labour reform.
As to health reform, the introduction of an affordable national health care insurance system and the transition of St. Maarten Medical Center to a general hospital are deemed crucial, Lee said. The hospital “is the cornerstone of our healthcare system.”
He said he was aware of the resistance in the community pertaining to the new health insurance, but assured that an “effective, trusted and well-managed system should come into place.”
Enhanced pension benefits are the main topic where social reform is concerned, Lee explained. The plans include a fully transferable pension, mandatory pensions for private-sector workers and tax-free pensions, to “ensure sustainable living and poverty alleviation.”
Where labour reform is concerned Lee mentioned the finalisation of amendments to facilitate flexibility in the Labour Law, amendment of dismissal legislation and the exploration of the possibilities to establish an unemployment insurance fund.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/65294-vsa-ministry-bound-by-budget-constraints