Seize opportunities in oil and gas to bolster financial viability – Min Jordan to NIS
─ Strategic ten-year plan should be implemented
─ Coalition will not shirk from its responsibility to ensure NIS remains viable
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, September 10, 2019
The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is celebrating 50 years of service. “Being fifty takes stamina and endurance,” said Finance Minister, Hon. Winston Jordan, who noted that the agency is older than the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, by some months.
Referring to the NIS’s last Actuary Report, the minister noted that as of December 2016, 60% of the country’s employed population was covered by the agency.
“At age fifty, it goes without saying that more measures need to be implemented, or must be continued to improve this ratio.”
He pointed out that long-term viability of similar schemes elsewhere were affected by ageing populations, low economic growth and high unemployment. However, the minister noted that this can and will be countered in Guyana with the advent of the oil and gas sector. He expressed the belief that this has somewhat led to the “surge of the number of Guyanese from the diaspora returning home. This will help with improving the collections of this scheme.”
The emphasis on education and the return of “free education”, as well as the eventual rise in employment, will provide the NIS with higher contribution levels, “thus improving its financial position.”
He called on the board and management, “to put together, the relevant measures in place to take advantages of these opportunities.”
He also called for the crafting of a strategic ten-year plan to coincide with the ‘Decade of Development’. This plan would include a formal long-term investment policy.
The NIS collected more than $940M through various reforms and initiatives which has allowed the payments of better salaries, benefits and pensions to staffers and contributors. The minister commended this significant achievement noting that the previous administration “only talked about the NIS’s woes” but failed to address them.
“We did it when we came in, and we will do it to ensure that the scheme remains solvent. Indeed, under the Co-operative Financial Institutions Act (COFA), to make good, deficits of this scheme. We do not shirk from our responsibility. The road may be long and rough, but we will travel it, knowing fully well that you are with us.”