[www.inewsguyana.com] – Leader of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) David Granger is urging the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration to rethink its social security strategy, remove its political control of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and appoint a board of competent directors.
At the Party’s weekly press conference on Friday, December 6, Granger said that the NIS is in crisis and has been kept under overbearing political control with PPP’s central committee member, Dr. Roger Luncheon, who has been the chairman of the board for over two decades.
“The danger is that, left in the hands of the PPP, the Scheme’s long – term financial sustainability will continue to be driven by partisan political interests. The Scheme’s funds will continue to be diverted away from its social goals into costly misadventures,” the APNU leader told reporters.
He explained that the NIS, at present, is in a sad state as it does not provide an adequate level of coverage to Guyana’s working and elderly population.
Reluctance to Implement Reforms
According to Granger, the policy makers on the NIS Board for the past two decades have not responded to the changing socio – economic conditions and deteriorating finances.
“There is need also, to attract more contributors, enforce compliance by delinquent employers and complete the conversion from troublesome manual paper records to electronic records on a permanent database…”
Propensity for risky investments:
The APNU leader also noted that NIS investments seemed to have been driven by risky political interests rather than prudential considerations especially during the last decade.
“They ended up compromising the quality of the investment portfolio. The scheme plunged impetuously into the ill-advised investments of US$30M in the bankrupted CLICO and the US$10M funding of the Berbice River Bridge; the acquisition of the Guyana Embassy building in Paramaribo, Suriname and the Guyana Revenue Authority building in Georgetown and the granting of ‘loans’ to chosen commercial companies.”
Granger is of the view that the NIS funds must be accountable directly to the National Assembly and not to the PPPC administration.
Meanwhile, APNU’s executive member, Joseph Harmon bemoaned the quality of service provided to the people who travel long distances. He is of the view that the conditions under which the employees work contribute to the quality of enthusiasm they display.