Years later, Region Two residents receive pension books, delayed NIS payments

Residents along the Essequibo Coast received first-time access to pension books and delayed National Insurance Scheme (NIS) after years of hiccups.

On Monday, Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, visited the NIS office in Anna Regina, where he spearheaded the exercise.

Senior Superintendent (ret’d) Clementius Ross receives outstanding NIS payments from Minister Dr. Ashni Singh

Minister Singh told the pensioners that the delivery of the social services to them was in response to an outreach led by the Head of State in September, followed by a subsequent engagement Dr. Singh had with residents late November.

The minister said that the PPP/C Administration is keen on resolving longstanding issues that have plagued the NIS.

Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh distributes outstanding NIS payments and pension books to pensioners

His Excellency’s commitment is to ensure all of the institutions of the state to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness with which they operate. The NIS is one such institution and our commitment when we came into government, as it specifically relates to NIS, was to ensure we clear out the backlog- the inherited stock of matters,” Dr. Singh stated.

Though some 60 per cent of the issues were resolved on the spot at the November meeting, Minister Singh related that a meeting of NIS’ Board of Directors on December 9, sought to address the concerns of pensions.

Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh distributes outstanding NIS payments and pension books to pensioners

While commending the staff for their efforts, Minister Singh urged employed persons to keep documentation of their pay-slips.

For those self-employed, the minister said contributions should be made to NIS as soon as possible, and that persons should not wait until the near retirement.

Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh distributes outstanding NIS payments and pension books to pensioners

Similarly, the minister added that employers should uphold their legal responsibility of making NIS contributions on behalf of their employees.

Beneficiaries

On the sidelines of the exercise, Senior Superintendent (ret’d) Clementius Ross told DPI that he was thankful to receive monies owed to him for 10 years.

He added, “I received my pension book years ago, but my pension was incorrectly tabulated. Well, now they refund me.”

For Mr. Balkaran Dwarka, a lengthy 13-year wait for an NIS pension has come to an end. Mr. Dwarka said his records were difficult to retrieve since he and multiple persons shared the same name.

Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh distributes outstanding NIS payments and pension books to pensioners

He also explained that there were no computers when he first started working, which may have resulted in misplaced records at his former workplace.

Nevertheless, Mr. Dwarka said he was happy to finally get what was owed to him.

“I glad. I feel more lively… You know how much body live off of them NIS, sick, get them benefit… Me never get. So, today I glad for this.”

Meanwhile, pensioner Ms. Bibi Munnay was also grateful for having access to monies that were in arrears.

“They paid me off $336,000 for 718 contributions and I bring it back and I told them the contribution is 750 and I thank the manager that she is working with me,” said Ms. Munnay.

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