A full actuarial valuation of the ‘Guyana Sugar and Trading Enterprises Pension Scheme’ (GSTEPS) is being done with the actuarial report expected to be completed by July 2018, according to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
In a press statement the sugar corporation explained that the while a full valuation of the scheme is done every three years by independent actuaries, due to the restructuring of the Corporation and the reduction of the number of employees in the scheme, the full valuation was brought forward one year to 2017. It noted that the last valuation was done for the year 2015, at which point a surplus was recorded.
“The actuaries will also be evaluating different models/scenarios of operation to determine the best way forward for the successful continuation of the scheme,” the statement explains. GSTEPS is a multi-employer defined benefit, pension scheme for qualifying employees which include, Senior and Junior Staff.
The statement notes that the scheme is funded by pension contributions from both the employer (GuySuCo), employees and the returns on the investment made on those contributions, while the plan commits to pay the employees, who are a part of GSTEPS, a defined amount based on the employee’s salary and years of service.
The contributions are held in trustee administered funds, which are separate from the Corporation’s finances and the pensioners are paid from the trustee administered funds.
Meanwhile, those employees who have retired and are not members of the Pension Scheme, including employees below Junior Staff level, are paid ex-gratia pensions, which used to be partially recoverable from the Sugar Industry Price Stabilisation Fund (SIPSF), but are now fully funded by the Corporation from its own cash resources.
“These employees are not required to make any contributions to a pension fund as in the case of the employees who are members of the GSTEPS scheme. The existing ex-gratia pensioners at the vested estates – Wales, Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon, continue to receive their pension from the Corporation. Severed employees who are eligible for ex-gratia pensions will/are also being paid by the Corporation,” the statement claims.
The statement appears to have been issued in response to media reports that the GSTEPS is in deficit.