Modernisation of NIS operations under way - Robinson
Admitting that she was "overwhelmed" by a plethora of complaints in relation to the inefficiency of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Labour and Social Security Minister Shahine Robinson has given the assurance that plans are already under way to modernise the organisation's operations.
In her contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House yesterday, Robinson said the ministry would be introducing new software to significantly reduce the timeline for processing applications for benefits.
She told her parliamentary colleagues that the modular rollout of this software has already begun and should be completed within the current financial year.
Meantime, Robinson pointed out that work has started to improve payment systems for both local and overseas-based pensioners.
Assessing the NIS 50 years after it was introduced, the labour and social security minister indicated that the latest actuarial review highlighted that the funds of the NIS were at risk of being exhausted by 2033, if regenerative measures are not taken now.
Robinson reported that a Reform Committee comprising representatives from the ministries of labour and social security and finance was examining the recommendations of the actuaries. She said the first report from their deliberations was expected by the third quarter of this year. She noted that stakeholders would be engaged as part of the process.
Turning to the National Insurance Fund, Robinson said the cumulative assets of the fund at the end of the last financial year were $80.6 billion. This represents an increase of approximately $9.1 billion over the previous period.
Robinson noted that a new National Insurance Board has been appointed, chaired by Lennox Elvy. She expressed appreciation to former board chairman Ralston Hyman, under whose leadership the fund attained and maintained reasonable growth.
"Within the context of the prosperity agenda, the new board will be undertaking a review of all existing projects of the fund and, where necessary, will reassess or reposition so that they can contribute in a more meaningful way to economic growth and job creation."