The Board and Management of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) are quite concerned that the records of almost two million contributors are still to be verified. With the December 31 deadline for the Scheme’s data computerization project just around the corner, the directors are concerned that thousands of contributors owed millions of dollars by the Scheme cannot be identified.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon told media operatives at Cabinet’s weekly press briefing on Wednesday that while the agency has completed its computerisation programme, the issue of verification and identification is increasingly worrying to the government.
The NIS was engaged primarily in paper-based recording and millions of records were still lodged in ledgers. The government announced that all the information would then be computerised. Manual records spanning over some ten years had to be computerised and later verified.
Luncheon said however that the monthly reviews, specifically the October report was submitted to Cabinet at their last meeting, and the report generally showed the completion of all outstanding data entry for the computerisation. “All paper records that deal with data entry…millions, are now safe on the computer database of the NIS.”
The most formidable aspect of the project however is verification. The Cabinet Secretary noted that at the end of October, just fewer than two million records still needed to be verified.”
However, a specific category within the programme drew even more concern for Cabinet since the Scheme is said to be swamped with thousands of files pertaining to contributors who are posing difficult to identify.
Luncheon said conventionally the name and NIS number, along with other information, is entered by employers when they submit contributions of a worker for a particular period. “However, what the scheme has been dealing with is suspended accounts for thousands of contributors whose information/identity is lacking. The Scheme has probably millions for thousands of contributors who are unidentifiable.”
“It is a matter that has gripped the Board and Management of the Scheme,” Luncheon said. He related that Cabinet, notwithstanding its comfort with the status of the project at the end of October, is still a bit “disconcerted and unclear” how matching the unidentified contributors with already connected contributions would be done. He hopes that the matter will conclude before year end.
The NIS commenced the compilation of outstanding records in early June of this year. Luncheon said that the consequences of outstanding contribution records had contributed to significant criticisms against the scheme among contributors and pensioners.
Some citizens have for some time expressed dissatisfaction at their inability and difficulty experienced in accessing their benefits.
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