By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Against damning criticisms regarding the National Insurance Scheme’s (NIS) viability, Chairman of the Scheme Dr. Roger Luncheon has expressed great faith that the scheme will overcome its financial challenges and continue to make a mark on the Guyanese society.
Dr. Luncheon was at the time speaking at the Scheme’s 44th Annual General Meeting, which coincides with the body’s 44th anniversary celebrations on Monday September 30 at NIS’s Head Office, Brickdam, Georgetown.
He said while the scheme’s expenditure has out-stripped its revenue growth, the assumption of an imminent dire situation is highly exaggerated.
“We have invested all that is good and sound and wholesome and we the members, supporters, officers and staff… must never lose sight of that legacy” Luncheon told the gathering.
He said in the face of its challenges, the Scheme’s management continues to rise to the occasion and provide a service to be proud of. In this regard he said it is important for the scheme to work together to find solutions.
“More has to be done in order for NIS to continue to make its mark on the society and lives of Guyanese… people must be dedicated to service” he added.
Meanwhile NIS General Manager Doreen Nelson noted that the recently concluded 8th Actuarial Review of the Scheme’s financial situation have made 24 concrete recommendations for solutions.
In listing the several challenges to the scheme viability nelson disclosed that at the end of 2012 the scheme’s income was $11.8 billion while its expenditure totaled $13.2 billion of which $11 billion was on benefit payment, resulting in a $477.7 million deficit.
Meanwhile, at the end of August this year the scheme’s income was $7.745 billion while its expenditure was $9.120 billion. Nelson said the body’s projection for the end of 2013 is to rake in $11.631 billion in revenue while expending $13.684 billion.
While reminding of the proposed increase in the contribution rate for both employed and self-employed to 14% and 12.5% respectively, she said the scheme is expecting a further strain with the several persons who joined the scheme at 16 and will turn 60 this year, entitling them to full benefits.
She called for more compliance on the part of employers and employee in making their NIS contributions.
Nelson said as the scheme moves forward into its 45th year it plans to place more attention on data and debt management. She called on all stakeholders to remain committed in seeing the scheme stay alive.
Additionally, during the service, NIS awarded several of its members for their years of service. Dr Luncheon received an award for his 20 years of service as chairman of the NIS Board of directors.