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Created 2018-01-11
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Description ¡­private sector warns of more burden for workersNews that billion-dollar National Insurance Scheme (NIS) fund is in serious trouble continues to raise concerns with calls yesterday for its board to be dissolved and a broad-based body of qualified persons established to oversee investments.The 2011 actuarial report reviewed the NIS financial viability through actuarial examination of the years 2007-2011 was released by government last week. The report predicts a gloomy outlook. Benefits could be exhausted in nine years unless drastic measures are taken, the actuary said.Former Auditor General, Anand GoolsarranThe actuaries made a number of recommendations including putting of the pensionable retirement age to 65 and the raising of the wage ceiling to $200,000 monthly. Currently, pension is paid when the contributor attains age 60.The report also called for the NIS management and government to examine the possibility of introducing measures that will see Government agencies and issuance of licences and permits to be linked to NIS.The report also blasts a special NIS reform body for failing to implement critical recommendations from the 2007 review. NIS would not have been in this dire position if its management had taken action on the previous report.There would be grave concerns for the future for the fund which was established in 1969 and which was geared to be self-sufficient.There has been public condemnation of the poor management of the NIS fund which, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, heads. It is believed that some companies are protected while owing millions of dollars in contributions.It is also believed that a wide network of employers and employees escape the NIS statutory net. These include minibus drivers, rice farmers, vendors and hinterland workers. Non compliance is one of the biggest concerns for the fund along with poor investment decisions.Yesterday, former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran, and the Alliance For Change, stepped up calls for NIS to be de-politicized and for a new board to be installed.Private Sector alarmedThe private-sector, Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GM&SA) expressed concern. In a statement to Kaieteur News, GM&SA said that the body is deeply concerned about the sustainability of the national social support system of NIS.¡°While we are not preview to the Actuarial Review, as concerned stakeholders we believe that all parties should come together sooner than later to examine the immediate, medium and longer measures that should be put in place to ensure the financial stability of the system.¡°We are placing our confidence in the fact that the Government as the custodial agent of the fund will act responsibly in addressing this issue.¡±According to GM&SA, while it does not have an immediate position on the issue of increases in the contribution rates and ceiling, its ¡°hardworking workforce¡± is already carrying significant financial obligations through income tax and the Value Added Tax (VAT) requirements.¡°This particular issue requires public consultation with all relevant stakeholders. What is of immediate concern is the regular complaints of discrepancies in the system with missing contributions made by workers and the wanton evasion of NIS contribution by certain employers.¡±The private sector body said it believed these are also major contributing factors to the financial challenges of NIS.¡°NIS needs to develop more reliable systems of accountability and become more proactive in enforcing the statutory requirements on all types of employment status. We intend to review this matter further at our November board meeting to decide how we are going to address the concerns raised.¡±UnforgivableAccording to the former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran, it is unforgivable that the NIS Board, led by Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, did not act on the recommendations of the 2007 Actuarial Report of NIS.¡°Now it has to bite the bullet and implement recommendations to avoid NIS going under. My recommendation is that the entire board should be dissolved, and a new Board, comprising professional and experienced persons appointed.¡±The accountant also said that NIS should also immediately move to establish a proper investments¡¯ committee,Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic, comprising independent experts,?to advise the Board on the type of investments that NIS should be involved in. This special committee will also monitor the investments.He urged for a shorter review period. ¡°Also, given the precarious financial position that the NIS is in, the Minister should arrange for shorter periods of actuarial reviews, perhaps every three years instead of the current five year period.¡±Goolsarran also believed that Dr. Luncheon is not the appropriate person to head the Board of NIS since he is a medical doctor and has no experience in social security matters.Meanwhile, the Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday expressed alarm at the ¡°devastating¡± report which was prepared by the independent, Derek Osborne, Chief Actuary of Horizonow Consultants Ltd, who was in Guyana back in June for the review.During the party¡¯s weekly press conference, its leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, said that had it been a minister, there would have been moves to have him resign via the Parliamentary route.
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