– entity working to correct registration woes
Government has assured that the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) will not fail despite facing many challenges and the entity is working hard to upgrade its registration records.
Officials of NIS appeared before a Select Parliamentary Committee on Friday to present a report following questions raised earlier this year following the collapse of CLICO.
According to a GINA statement, the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Economic Services met Friday with board members of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), headed by its Chairman Dr. Roger Luncheon.
The report was presented by Acting General Manager of NIS, Doreen Nelson, who pointed out that there are numerous services being offered with improvements due to a number of regulations being amended over the years.
She said that some of the changes that came about include an extension of the medical care programme that allows for payment in advance for medical services.
The legislation change assures an increase for funeral benefits by 10 percent each year, with the current sum being above $18,000. Further, whenever there is an increase in wages, certain things like minimum pension and the insurable ceiling increase automatically.
Nelson stated that NIS has sought to improve its record keeping, in this regard, electronic scheduled submissions began in September and this lessens the time needed to verify data. She explained that several conversion programmes were embarked on to change temporary cards. The scheme is also putting systems in place to have persons correct their data to have a correct match with the information in the database.
She noted that management has been able to address two issues out of the reform, the first being the low compliance listing. For this, partnership is being sought with various agencies, including the Courts, to bring delinquent employers into compliance.
Secondly, all offices are on stream with improvements in their Human Resource departments.
Members of the Sectoral Committee, headed by MP Gail Teixeira, expressed concern about key issues such as, whether the scheme would remain viable with the demands for the increase in benefits and questioning the avenues available to generate funds for its upkeep.
In relation to the low compliance, the Sectoral Committee raised the issue that enough force was not being used to combat the low compliance by delinquent employers.
Questions were also raised about the system of registration and concern was also focused on the actuarial review and the fact that thus far only 29,462 self-employed people have registered with the scheme.
The Sectoral Committee said it hoped that there is a strategic plan with regards to the investment as well as a general strategic plan.
Dr. Luncheon responded by saying that the reality is that the Scheme is burdened by decades of matters that have not been dealt with, as such the Scheme is in a defensive mode. He noted that the Scheme is currently working to correct its registration woes.
In relation to the financial administration and viability of the scheme, Dr. Luncheon pointed out that the Scheme is unlikely to fall short since there are many persons with vested interest that will make the scheme work.
He explained that the Scheme would have to continue to focus on the management of expenditure and revenue, pointing out that the investment of $30B is a critical element in sustaining the viability of the Scheme.
He stated that a low yield portfolio that is safe and ignores speculative risks is the safest route in the Guyanese context.
Many key members of the Sectoral Committee were absent from the meeting, as such, a request was made by Teixeira to have a follow up meeting in the coming weeks to further discuss the questions raised at the June meeting and the recommendation element of the document that was submitted.
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