The Belgian government is on track to obtain parliamentary approval for a law that would allow self-employed individuals to accrue second-pillar pension benefits.A parliamentary committee approved the draft law in late January, and the full parliament is expected to pass it in due course.According to Luc Vereycken, co-founder and CEO of pensions and insurance consultancy Vereycken & Vereycken, the new regime is due to start in July.Currently, self-employed professionals such as traders, notaries or craftsmen do not have the same entitlements to occupational pension benefits as self-employed who are registered as directors of a company. Belgium’s parliament building in BrusselsWith the new law, self-employed individuals will be able to choose to save more for their pension, benefitting from a tax reduction of 30% on contributions. The net tax on the pension savings will be around 12.5% of the contributions.As is the case for self-employed company directors, self-employed individuals will be able to save up to 80% of their taxable salary across the first and second pillar.To sign up for the new regime, self-employed individuals can set up a contract with an insurer or a pension fund.The law was presented to the parliamentary committee by Denis Ducarme, minister for the self-employed and small businesses, and Daniel Bacquelaine, the pensions minister.Bacquelaine said the measure was “an additional step towards the generalisation of supplementary pensions and the harmonisation of schemes”.Complexities aheadVereycken said he thought the new law was a positive development, but that “in Belgium it’s becoming rather complex”.There was a contradiction in that, for budget reasons, the new system for the self-employed was not as attractive from a tax perspective as some third-pillar pension arrangements, he added.Vereycken said that, although the new system had many similarities with private pension arrangements (third pillar), it was officially a second-pillar pension regime because it was governed by social law, and hence was better protected than third-pillar pensions.This was a difference that many people did not understand, he added. Other European governments are seeking to improve pension coverage for the self-employed. In the UK, the government has proposed extending its auto-enrolment policy to cover self-employed workers, while in the Netherlands unions are seeking better benefits and protections for “zzp’ers” from a rising state pension age. In addition to a state pension, the self-employed have been entitled to accrue additional benefits up to a premium of around €3,000 per year. This is known as the “pension complémentaire libre pour indépendants” (PCLI).Since 2004, self-employed company directors have been able to accrue second-pillar benefits, but this was not available to self-employed people that were not company directors.This led to many individuals setting up companies for pension and tax reasons.“The government did not like that, and now, in theory, that is no longer necessary for pension reasons,” said Vereycken.
The Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) has confirmed that the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying series Match-day 2 encounter between the Super Eagles and the Seychelles national team, known as Pirates, will take place on Saturday, 8th September, as against the widely circulated date of Friday, 7th September.The Chief Executive Officer/General Secretary of the SFF, Georges Bibi, in a mail to NFF’s Director of Competitions, Mr. Ayobola Oyeyode, also disclosed that the match will be played at the Stade Linite on the Mahe Island (home to the capital city, Victoria), starting from 4.30pm Seychelles time (1.30pm Nigeria time).Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands on the western Indian Ocean, off East Africa, and is home to about 100,000 people. Next week’s clash is crucial to both the Eagles and the Pirates, both teams having lost their opening games in the series.The Eagles lost 0-2 to South Africa in Uyo on June 10, 2017.A day earlier, the Pirates were poleaxed 5-1 by Libya’s Mediterranean Knights at the Stade Chedly Zouiten in Tunisia’s capital.Presently, Libya’s Knights top the Group E, followed by South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, with the Eagles in third place and the Pirates bottom.At its meeting inside the NFF Secretariat, Abuja on Monday, the NFF Executive Committee resolved, among other decisions, that “for ease of logistics and in consideration of convenience… the players (as well as team officials not based in Nigeria) fly direct into Seychelles from their bases in Europe while Ikechukwu Ezenwa, the only player from the domestic Nigerian league and Nigeria-based coaching personnel are to fly from Nigeria aboard commercial aircraft.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram