Oct 03, 2017 News
The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) continues to face some tough times from declining revenues and little returns from investments.
In fact, for this year alone, the scheme had to dip three times into its fund to pay benefits, according to NIS General Manager, Holly Greaves. She was addressing staffers and other stakeholders at yesterday’s 48th celebrations of NIS.
NIS’ pension has been critical to workers who devoted their life to their jobs but have little to fall back on after retiring. Currently, the Government of Guyana is paying just over $19,000 to eligible persons as an old age pension, every month.
According to Greaves, in her report on the performance of NIS, as predicted in the last actuarial review, the scheme’s growing benefit expenditure has been consistently surpassing contribution income.
“These problems are consistent with a maturing scheme. The scheme has experienced two deficits in the last 10 years. The first occurred in 2011 and the second in 2016. The scheme has already dipped thrice into the Fund for 2017 to pay benefits. It is therefore imperative that the scheme generate funds in keeping with the growth in benefits.”
The other income earner for the scheme is through its investment portfolio. However, the scheme continues to be faced with low interest rates and no interest from some of its non-performing investments, the official said.
NIS has monies invested in the Berbice River Bridge and in the CLICO insurance which has since collapsed. NIS had over $5B in CLICO.
The administration has initiated disbursements over 20 years to plug monies into NIS every year to replace the CLICO investments.
Greaves noted that over the last 48 years, the NIS has provided to workers and their dependents a wide range of social security benefits. Guyana also pays benefits under the CARICOM Social Security Agreement, which only covers the payment of long term benefits.
She argued that the need for a Social Security organisation to remain relevant in a country cannot be over emphasized.
“The National Insurance and Social Security Scheme is the single thread, which spans the lives of almost every person in Guyana from birth, and even before, to death and in some cases, thereafter.”
However, she warned, confronted with the present economic challenges, aging population, rising life expectancy and increased pension payments, capturing the economically active population remains paramount for the long-term viability of the fund.
She said that there must be not only a change in strategy, but also a change in attitude and commitment by all staff to the organization.
“In a world where change is inevitable we at the National Insurance Scheme must refuse to be complacent as individuals and as workers within our organisation.”
A brief examination of our performance over the past year indicated that for the period January to August 2017 income collected was $13.6B or 67% of the $20.2B budgeted, while total expenditure over the same period was approximately $13.7B or 70% of its $19.4B budgetary allocation.
“Therefore, a year-to-date deficit of $95,368,000 was recorded, which was $93,849,000 or 1.6% more than the budgeted deficit of $93,841,000. It is projected that by the end of 2017 total income would be approximately $21.4B while the projected expenditure would be approximately $21.1B.
This means that the Scheme will collect a further $7.8B in revenue during the period September – December which will allow us to surpass our revenue target by $1,249,817,000.” The NIS is also expected to expend a further $7.4B for the September – December period which will cause the scheme to surpass its budgetary allocation by $1,266,943,000.
According to the GM, of significance is the fact that the scheme’s benefit expenditure, at the end of August 2017 totaled $12.5B. It is projected that by the end of the year, this figure would increase to $19.2B.
“It is evident from the analysis that, of the projected total expenditure of approximately $21.1B, benefit expenditure represents 19.2B. The Pension Branch – Old Age, Invalidity, Survivors – accounted for approximately 90% of these payments. The pension branch of the Scheme is rapidly expanding and as such keen attention has to be paid to that branch.”
At the end of August 2017, the population of active pensioners was at 49,466.
“Coupled with this, at the beginning of the year, increases were granted to the Funeral Benefit from $36,725 to $40,398. The minimum rate for Old Age and Invalidity pensions was also increased from $25,000 to $27,500 per month and all other pensions above the minimum were increased by four per cent from 1st January, 2017.”
The official disclosed that during 2017, compliance activities have also been affected by an expanding informal work force that is not complying with the National Insurance regulations.
“In some cases there is an increase in the practice of employers to deem workers who are under their supervision and control as self-employed persons.”
She admitted that the inability and difficulty to cover the majority of the self employed population and more so to even determine the actual population continues to be a burden on the resources of the scheme.
“In addition, our poor customer service and the extensive time taken to resolve customer issues have lead to public distrust and poor publicity.”
Sep 23, 2021South American Junior C/Ship set for October 16 & 17 Kaieteur News – Athletics Guyana (AG) has confirmed that the National Youth & Junior Championship will run off as scheduled this...
By Sir Ronald Sanders The public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has rightly focused the attention and... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]