Officials of the State-owned National Insurance Scheme (NIS) are tight-lipped about the current financial status of the institution.
In recent weeks, a number of people have been complaining to The New Today Newspaper about the lengthly delay they experience in having claims forwarded to the Scheme to be settled in a timely manner.
An employee told this newspaper that he submitted a claim since the first week of June and is yet to have his benefits paid although he was informed that he has surpassed the minimum number of contributions to qualify for pension.
As part of its three-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), the cash-strapped New National Party (NNP) Government approached NIS for a haircut on a 2025 investment portfolio it has with the Scheme.
In 2010, the then NIS Chairman, Philbert Lewis told a stakeholders’ meeting that due to the collapse of British American Insurance Company Limited (BAICO), the financial institution had to write off a $9.6 million investment it had with that insurance company.
Employers are required to remit to NIS, on a monthly basis, contributions on behalf of their workers.
Four percent of the workers’ salary is deducted, while employers have to make a contribution of five percent on behalf of each worker.
Information provided to THE NEW TODAY Newspaper states that contributions received for 2014 amounted to $62.9M, and from 1983 when the NIS started to the end of 2014, the total amount of benefits paid to contributors and their dependants totalled over $500M.
In 2014, NIS paid $53.1M in benefits.
The NIS came into being under People’s Law number 14 of 1983 during the reign of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of late marxist leader, Maurice Bishop.