Guyana’s premier social security institution, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary and has proudly announced that it has 52, 944 pensioners on roll. This is according to its General Manager, Holly Greaves, who stressed the importance of social security to the populace during her address to a General Assembly.
Reflecting on the growth of the organization, Greaves said that NIS started as a modest social security institution on September 29, 1969 and has now become the main “Social Security” provider to the people of Guyana. While noting that social security protects thousands of workers and their loved ones against the loss of income they would otherwise face in their old age, or upon the disability or death of the family breadwinner, she disclosed that at the end of August, 2019, there were 52,944 pensioners on roll.
Of this amount, she said, 39,008 are in receipt of Old Age pension; this number consisted of 11,736 overseas old age pensioners and 27,272 local old age pensioners. According to the General Manager, 25,590 old age pensioners were in receipt of a minimum pension–$32,100 which represents 50 percent of the minimum wage, as at August, 2019.
Greaves added, “Worthy of mention is that of the 52,944 pensioners on roll 11,807 pensioners are in receipt of their pension through Bank Lodgement. The Scheme is presently encouraging pensioners to use the bank lodgement system for the payment of their pensions.” In terms of claims received and processed, Greaves disclosed as at August 2019, NIS received 82,429 claims.
Giving a breakdown, Greaves explained that the amount received comprised of 79,852 short term claims and 2,577 long term claims.
“Of the amount received 78,504 or 95.2% were processed and paid. Of the $1.7 billion budgeted for short term benefits in 2019, the Scheme has already expended $960M. The main contributing factor to this expenditure line is the $391M already spent on Medical Care expenses as at August 2019,” the General Manager told the Assembly.
She, however, related that of significance is the rising cost to the Scheme for some Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as Hypertension, Diabetes mellitus, Cancer, Degenerative Heart Disease and Respiratory Infection. As at August 2019 reimbursement for these five categories totaled $262,663,459, the General Manager told the Assembly.
Greaves, nevertheless added, “There is hardly a family, in Guyana which does not have one or more members receiving benefits, usually an aging parent or grandparent. It is evident that the safety net provided by this institution plays an important role in the socio-economic fabric of our society.”
“The challenges we face are real and will not be met easily in a short space in time. But we will continue to reaffirm our commitment to provide the best service to the contributors and pensioners. We have before us the task to ensure that this institution is not only maintained, but developed to meet the future needs of the society.”
Another thing worthy of mentioning is that NIS has also been engaging companies in the emerging Oil and Gas Sector and as at August 2019, received $575, 034, 988 from 3,610 employees. NIS is celebrating its jubilee anniversary under the theme “50 years of Consistent and Dedicated service to Guyana”.
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