Dr. Singh insists on annual NIS statements for contributors
--reminded employers that failure to pay deductions is a criminal offence
In a bid to ensure contributors are up to date with their National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions and are not scammed by employers, Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh is calling on the NIS to reinstate a system where contributors are provided with a statement on an annual basis.
Dr. Singh was at the time delivering the feature address at the NIS General Assembly in observance of its 53rd Anniversary on Tuesday at the NIS Sports Club Ground along Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown.
He reminded the gathering that under the Chairmanship of Dr. Roger Luncheon, the NIS had introduced a system where employers were provided with a contribution statement on an annual basis for all of their employees to be apprised of their contributions.
However, the Finance Minister highlighted that he was informed by various employers, including government agencies, that the practice is no longer being executed.
“I’m asking you to reinstitute this practice. As a matter of fact, every contributor should get a statement every year,” Dr. Singh said.
“Every contributor should get a statement once a year and be encouraged to regularise and fix any gaps that they observe,” he added.
The Finance Minister noted that if employees are appraised on an annual basis of their contributions then missing contributions will be identified and fixed early instead of the scheme having to do so when they are at the age of retirement and qualify for benefits. At this time, Dr. Singh posited, it can prove difficult to locate .records.
Additionally, Dr. Singh also reminded employees that failure to pay over their employees’ NIS deductions is a criminal offence.
“When you make NIS deductions you are holding that money in trust. It’s not your money, it’s not available to you for liquidity and cash flow purposes you are holding it in trust,” Dr. Singh said.
“You have deducted it from the emoluments of your employees and you have a legal obligation to pay it over immediately,” he added.
The Finance Minister also told the NIS to “get serious” with defaulters and aggressively pursue persons who fail to pay deductions.
Noteworthy, Dr. Singh took time to commend the NIS team for their hard work which has yielded significant results, including reducing pending claims in excess of over 14, 000 to less than 1, 000 since the new board was instituted.
The NIS recently executed community outreaches throughout Guyana, the majority of which were spearheaded by Dr. Singh himself.
Through the outreaches, the NIS was able to resolve many issues contributors faced and clear the major backlog the scheme had for several years.
However, Dr. Singh also issued a charge to the staff of NIS to ensure persons visiting NIS offices are comfortable with their experience and are provided with exceptional service.
“Nobody walking into a NIS office should be treated with disrespect or contempt, nobody walking into a NIS office should be told you ain’t see we close for lunch come back just now,” the Finance Minister noted.
While delivering remarks, Chairman of the NIS Board Ramesh Persaud highlighted that over 60,000 pensioners currently benefit from the scheme and approximately 12, 000 short-term claims are issued on a monthly basis.
“Every month we provide social security support to the tune of about $2.5 billion to members of the public,” Persaud said.