NIS takes outreach to Region 5
Scores of residents of Region Five flocked a National Insurance Scheme (NIS) outreach on Sunday, to have their issues resolved, as well as utilise other services being provided by the agency.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, M.P., Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag, M.P. and regional officials attended the event held at the region’s NIS branch, Naarstigheid, West Coast Berbice.
Minister Singh told DPI that the exercise sought to fast-track government’s plan to reshape NIS to become more efficient, and customer friendly.
“Historically, there have been a lot of complaints from people about the speed, more so efficiency that their matters are dealt with at the NIS so, that process of addressing these institutional weaknesses is ongoing.”
He explained that, “even as we (government) do so, we are doing these outreaches throughout the country to address individual problems, so that we can help to clear out the backlog of problems.”
According to the minister, the exercise has brought government one step closer to achieving its promise. Noting that based on the residents’ overwhelming response, this is the exact reason why it is being executed countrywide.
“I think the overwhelming majority were able to deal with their matters, and they leave satisfied when their matters can be dealt with on the spot. I’m setting a tight timeline for the NIS management to resolve those matters,” he said.
Notwithstanding the high-resolution rate, Minister Singh said that some cases are beyond the control of NIS due to employers’ failure to comply with the law.
“If you’re working in a place that was not making deductions or being open whereas we don’t have any record for you then that is a little bit more problematic, let us see what can be done. We will try our best to use alternative sources to verify whether deductions were made and being paid over,” he stated.
The minister stressed that the agency has been able to make good progress eliminating its high backlog cases to just under 1,000, under his leadership. This, he believes could have only been achieved once the right person was given the responsibility to improve the lives of citizens.
Speaking with DPI, Diaram, a resident and former employee of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) thanked government for organising the outreach as it addressed one of his major issues.
“There is about three years missing from GuySuCo since I had applied for my contribution, and so I came this morning and they have rectified it, and I gone so I feel so glad that the government is bringing good service to the people up here, and I hope they continue,” he added
Another resident, Mahendra Persaud, said he “appreciate this kind of activities because we find that our problems are being heard and being served. So, my problem this morning is my missing contributions and from my knowledge with the discussion with GuySuCo, the problem will be solved.”
The outreach was deemed successful due to the partnership created between the agency and GuySuCo to provide smooth process.
On Saturday, NIS held an outreach at Enterprise, East Coast Demerara where persons expressed satisfaction that the activity was held and their matters were resolved.