Gov’t working to improve NIS services – Dr. Ashni Singh
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh is working with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) to make pensions payable immediately after contributors turn 60.
Dr. Singh was speaking at a recent outreach on the East Coast of Demerara, where he acknowledged the challenges persons encounter while seeking to access their pension.
“I want to get to a point where as soon as you reach 60, next month you start getting your pension, that is what should happen and that is the instruction that I have given to NIS. Now, we must not have this business that people are waiting for a year, two years and you wouldn’t believe, we have had cases where people are waiting for 30 years. I have dealt with people who are 93 years old and didn’t get their pension, thankfully we were able to resolve it,” Dr. Singh said.
He said the insurance company should reach a point where persons could go to any office and have their issues resolved.
“I have said to the NIS, they need to fix those issues within the NIS. I have said it clearly to the board, and they have made a lot of progress, more than 13,000 pending matters have been resolved,” Dr. Singh said.
The minister noted that there are now less than 1000 outstanding issues to be resolved.
“I’m prepared to do as many of these outreaches as possible to be able to hear what people’s issues are and personally sit here, listen to the issues, and work with the NIS to get them to fix those issues,” Dr. Singh said.
The efforts to improve the services of the NIS is a holistic approach by the Government of Guyana to transform the country by modernising state institutions, and the way the staff interact with citizens.
“Because we recognise that the quality of services provided by our public institutions to citizens has a lot of improvement, one of those institutions of course is the NIS which is an extremely important national institution,” Dr. Singh said.
“Over the years we have seen and heard an accumulation of concerns and complaints expressed by people for one reason or another about their inability to access their NIS benefits in a timely manner, or their inability to interact with the NIS in an efficient manner,” Dr. Singh noted.
Since assuming office, the government appointed a new board of directors.
Dr. Singh said the new board and management is aware of government’s expectations regarding the modernisation of the NIS, and quality of service delivered.