Over recent years, there have been increasing complaints of various kinds against the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). These complaints have ranged from contributors ‘claims taking a very long time to processing, to incomplete or poor record keeping, which has resulted in contributors’ payments not being properly accounted for, to the agency’s general complacency.
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh recently registered the Government’s “serious concern” about the situation, and urged the new Board to take immediate action in finding solutions to the challenges that have plagued the organization for many years now.
Minister Singh expressed serious Government concern about the number of complaints received from contributors about delays in receiving their benefits and entitlements, sometimes as a result of incomplete records of their contributions to the Scheme. As such, it tasked the Board with addressing this problem immediately with a view to ensuring that public satisfaction with the level of service provided by the NIS is improved urgently.
Although the agency’s intent is genuinely valid, there is a general perception that it could operate with greater efficiency and effectiveness in meeting the expectations of the various stakeholders, especially contributors to the Plan. Although thousands of people have benefited or are currently benefiting from the agency, several others have reported that they have been forced to suffer considerable difficulty in their engagement with the agency.
According to the institute’s website, the NIS is a social security organization whose Mission: To establish and maintain a Social Security system whereby sufficient income is secured to replace earnings in the event of illness or accident. to provide for retirement through the age or sudden death of a breadwinner, and to meet exceptional expenses such as those relating to birth and death and, To ensure that money is collected that must be used for future payments is invested in such a way that the economy of the country would benefit most.
The mission of the agency is clear, and the Board and management must continually review its operational procedures and explore ways in which efficiency and effectiveness could be improved. They may want to consider having periodic public commitments to find out the immediate concerns of its members, who pay or have paid into a system and expect to reap rewards in a timely manner. These regular public engagements would allow managers and senior officials to resolve issues on the ground, and would provide the agency with the opportunity for regular feedback from citizens on areas for improvement.
A few days ago, the President himself, during a governmental outreach in Region 2, was baffled by complaints against the agency, and it was only after he directed that NIS management work immediately to resolve the issues. This should never have been the case, as it portrays the agency as not very proactive.
The concerns raised by residents of Region 2 reflect the concerns of citizens in every region of Guyana. It is hoped that the new Board will go into business and work immediately to alleviate the problems facing the Scheme, particularly with the speedy processing of donor records and claims.
In addition, the issue of the Plan’s financial position and bringing it to viability is also of paramount importance. It would be good if the Board undertook a detailed assessment of the agency’s current financial position, and drafted a paper on how it intends to turn around the same.
The truth is that the nation has had plenty of excuses from NIS about its failures. We certainly agree with the President that all State agencies must strive to operate at the highest level of efficiency and professionalism, and be fair to all who seek to engage with their services.

Previous articleYou don’t have to have money to show love at “Christmas”