Dutch midwives’ scheme to apply third consecutive benefits cut

first_imgVerloskundigen, the €359m Dutch occupational pension fund for midwives, is to cut pension payments for the third consecutive year after reporting a funding ratio of 88.4%.In its recovery plan, the scheme said it was anticipating a reduction of 0.75% at year-end, following cuts of 0.4% and 1.4% in 2016 and 2017, respectively.However, speaking to IPE’s sister publication Pensioen Pro, the scheme’s chair Marlies Bartels put the measure into perspective by explaining that the scheme would discount the cut against its unconditional indexation of 2%.As a result, pension rights would rise by 1.25% on balance, she said. “Despite the rights discounts, we are performing above average in terms of retaining purchasing power,” said Bartels.The net indexation granted by the pension fund has exceeded price inflation during the past five years.In the opinion of Bartels, the scheme’s funding level – which is well below that typically required by schemes to allow inflation-linked payments – should be considered in the context of its fixed 2% indexation.“Without this, our coverage would have stood between 130% and 140%,” she said.In order to speed up recovery to the required minimum funding of approximately 105%, Verloskundigen has decided to reduce annual pensions accrual by 30%.The €327m pension fund for the accountancy sector is the only other scheme in the Netherlands that is known to have applied a cut to payments this year.It said a 30% cut was necessary as part of the transfer of its pension rights to Stap, the general pension fund (APF) established by insurer Aegon and its subsidiary TKP Pensioen.The minimum entry level for the multi-client compartment of the APF equated to a funding of 105%. The coverage ratio of the accountancy scheme stood at 91.7%.last_img read more

House Ratifies US$20M Loan for Gbarnga-Salayea Road

first_imgPartial view of lawmakers approving a loan agreement for the reconstruction of the highway between Gbarnga and Salayea.Members of the House of Representatives have ratified the Loan Agreement signed between the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the Republic of Liberia for the construction of the Gbarnga (Bong County) – Salayea (Lofa County) road.The loan is seventy-five million (75,000,000) Saudi Riyals, which is equivalent to US$20 million.The Lawmakers approved the financial deal yesterday according to a report from the Joint Committee of Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary.The project, upon its completion, will provide expanded road connectivity to rural parts of the country and will boost Liberia’s development agenda by stimulating economic activities through easy access of goods and services. It will also facilitate the free movement of people across the country.The Liberian government has agreed to secure a loan of US$12 million from the Arab Bank for Development in Africa (BADEA), and has already received US$15.5 million from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development; US$20m from the OPEC Fund and US$15 million from the Abu Dhabi Fund, according to the report from the joint Committee.In a letter requesting the House to ratify the Loan Agreement, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the loan is critical and aims to develop an existing gravel/length road of approximately 81km length with a width of 7.5 million that connects Bong and Lofa counties, as well as improve accessibility and reduce travel costs for residents of the affected counties.The Government of Liberia shall pay interest at the rate of one percent (1%) per annum on the principle amount of the loan withdrawn and outstanding. Interest and other charges shall be paid semi-annually, according to the Agreement.The term of the loan is 30 years, including a 10-year grace period. The government will repay the principal amount of the loan in accordance with Amortization Schedule set forth in Schedule No.3 to the Agreement.The Agreement is in support of the government’s overall development agenda, the President said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Iniesta and Torres depart Barcelona and Atletico in style

first_img0Shares0000Farewell: Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta holds the Liga trophy © AFP / Josep LAGOMADRID, Spain, May 21 – Two Spanish giants bid farewell to their boyhood clubs on Sunday as Andres Iniesta waved goodbye to Barcelona and Fernando Torres went out with a bang at Aletico Madrid.Torres scored twice on his final appearance for Atletico, even if a Lucas Hernandez red card helped Eibar claim a 2-2 draw on the last day of the La Liga season. Iniesta’s 22-year association with Barcelona, meanwhile, ended with a victory as the player marked out as the Spaniard’s successor, Philippe Coutinho, proved the difference in a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad.With a tear in his eye, Iniesta walked off to a standing ovation from the Camp Nou in the second half, having unfastened his captain’s armband and handed it to Lionel Messi.He hugged the Argentinian and then embraced the rest of his colleagues. The 34-year-old clapped the crowd, blew them a kiss, before exhaling and ducking into the dug-out.An extravagent post-match ceremony followed, celebratng both Iniesta and the winning of La Liga and the Copa del Rey. Barca’s players returned to the pitch all wearing shirts with Iniesta’s name on their backs.“It is a difficult day,” Iniesta said in a speech to the crowd. “But it has been a wonderful 22 years. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to defend and represent this club, for me the best in the world. I will keep you in my heart forever.”Barca’s players then huddled beneath Iniesta and tossed him into the air.“I feel privileged,” coach Ernesto Valverde said. “Just as they all do to have been a part of it. He is a unique, unrepeatable player. There is none like him.”After 22 years at the club and 16 in the first team, Iniesta’s 674 appearances for Barcelona is bettered only by Xavi Hernandez, who was also on the pitch before kick-off to join in the tributes.Real Sociedad welcomed Iniesta with a guard of honour while the crowd formed an impressive mosaic to spell out ‘Infinit Iniesta’ on the two sides of the stadium, with an infinity symbol, doubling up as number eights, at the ends.A giant flag behind one of the goals read ‘Gracies Per Tant’, ‘thank you for so much’.Torres’ swansong was less emotional, perhaps because his fairytale ending had already arrived on Wednesday, when he lifted his first Atleti trophy after the Europa League final against Marseille.But his double against Eibar added some extra sparkle in front of his own supporters, who stayed on after the final whistle to watch the team form another guard of honour as the striker left the pitch.On his 404th appearance for Atletico, Torres’ goals were his 128th and 129th for the club, coming 17 years after his first, scored against Albacete in the Segunda Division in 2001.Thanks for the memories: Atletico Madrid forward Fernando Torres waves to fans in his last match for the club © AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS“I thank the whole Atletico family,” Torres said afterwards. “I knew I wanted to play here and it has been an honour and a privilege to wear this shirt more than 400 times. You have made me the happiest person in the world.”Torres, like Iniesta, has yet to declare his next move but this display — speedy, sharp and clinical — will have caught the eye of any interested parties.He had walked out before kick-off, with his three children, through a corridor formed by the Eibar players as Atletico’s fans displayed the words, ‘De Nino A Leyenda’, meaning ‘from a kid to a legend’.Outside the ground, fans had posed for photos next to life-size Torres cut-outs and peered at message boards, detailing the player’s greatest moments.This, after all, was a boyhood Atletico fan, who first watched his team with his grandfather as a child, and who, when he returned to the club for a second spell in 2015, drew a crowd of more than 40,000 just for his presentation.Atletico coach Diego Simeone predicted Torres will one day be back again.“His return was something I’d never seen before and today’s farewell was equal to that,” Simeone said. “I have no doubt he will return to the Atletico, maybe we will meet again at some point. A life in football is very long.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more