The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT disappointed with its warning against increasing St. Maarten’s old age AOV pension benefit by 11 per cent along with the pensionable age from 62 to 65 (see Monday paper). After all, the negative impact of the latter on those now under 60 years old should not be underestimated.
The savings it will produce can hardly be undermined by adding a mere 124 Netherlands Antillean guilders per month to bring the maximum pay-out from NAf. 1,116 to NAf. 1,240. The latter is still not close to a liveable wage by any means with local prices of consumer goods, relatively high rents, etc.
So, while both the Council of Advice and government too understandably worry about the negative impact of COVID-19 on AOV premium collection, at least a small benefit hike was long overdue. It is fitting certainly now that people who finally retire at 65 will probably have less of a chance to remain even partially employed and keep some extra income than had they done so already at 62.
Moreover, there are plans to raise the age to 67 in the next five years as part of reforms the Netherlands wants to see in exchange for continued corona crisis-related liquidity support. With also that future prospect in mind, bringing the – inadequately low – amount recipients get up just a bit does not seem unreasonable, despite the current dire socioeconomic situation.