Minister Singh says training, cultural change needed at NIS

More citizens are now accessing their pensions and other National Insurance Scheme (NIS) services, as Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh MP, continues to lead outreaches across the country.

On Saturday, during an outreach at the Mon Repos Primary School, Minister Singh presented Mr. Michael Paris, Guyana’s only Olympic medallist, with his pension book, bringing an end to his three-year wait to access this benefit.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh MP, presents Mr. Michael Paris his NIS pension book

Like many others, Mr. Paris had missing contributions which prevented him from receiving his benefits when he turned 60, three years ag0.  He brought his matter to Minister Singh’s attention during a similar outreach held in July.

“It is couple years I was not getting it and I always pray and ask God to let the dream come through and it come through when I met Minister Ashni Singh.

“So, I feel great pleasure because I always say, I do this for the country and no pension. I mean I have not met the age for old age pension, but NIS pension. Mr. Ashni come and rectify it. It is a pleasure and an honour,” he said.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh pays keen attention as this gentleman explains his case at the NIS outreach

Mr. Paris said the process was smooth and fast and he encourages the public to take advantage of the outreaches being held countrywide.

“People who hear about this thing should come down and they get quick attention than when you are going to NIS. Here, you get through fast,” he said.

Minister Singh said after he was presented with the facts of Mr. Paris’s matter, he instructed the NIS Board and Management to look into the issue, which they did expeditiously. 

“Let me emphasise that Mr. Paris is not the only such case, literally hundreds of similar cases have been going to the Management and going to the Board and have been approved,” the Minister said.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh MP

Dr. Singh noted that the various outreaches continue to highlight the challenges persons encounter accessing their benefits at the NIS. However, he said the outreaches have also provided NIS with the opportunity to address them.

“We need a cultural change in the NIS.

“A change that focuses more on addressing people’s concerns in a more timely manner, so that we get to the point where we do not need a big outreach like this, but in fact people can walk into any NIS office and get that quality of service and that is where we want to get.”

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh MP

However, the Minister said, training is needed to effect that change.

“I think there is room for customer service training and I have raised that with the Board and the Board agrees fully that there is room for… training in rules and procedures and options that are available for addressing disputes,” Minister Singh said. Persons who visited the outreach had various concerns addressed. These include compliance certificates, contribution statements and payments, registration and replacement of NIS cards, signing and submission of life certificates, submission of claims, among others.

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