Why are only those receiving minimum NIS pensions getting the increase?

Dear Editor,

I am a National Insurance Scheme (NIS) pensioner. NIS pensioners have always been paid the percentage increase for public servants which the government pays out annually. This increase is usually paid out around March, the following year, effective from January 1 of the previous year, but this year when I visited the NIS office to collect my percentage increase, I was told by one of the clerks at the counter that the arrears are only payable to NIS pensioners who are receiving the minimum NIS pension.

I was shocked to say the least about this new development. Why should only those at the minimum pension receive the percentage increase for 2011 when throughout the years all the NIS pensioners received it. This must not happen.

Pensioners above the minimum have the same needs as those at the minimum. Moreover, we contribute more to the NIS during our working life, ie at a higher rate also.

I am by no means rich. I am a poor retired single parent public servant who started to build my house since 2002 and after a decade cannot complete it as yet.

It is unpainted, needs repairs, furnishings, fittings, guttering, etc. My fence is falling apart. I have been trying to enclose the downstairs little by little for years now, so that I can rent it out to bring in some cash. It‘s still far from completion. Like those receiving minimum NIS pensions, I am struggling financially, and I need my money.

Why is the government denying that category of the NIS pensioner the arrears for 2011? Are they going to do the same for the 2012 percentage increase when it is announced? Is this going to take place all the time? What is the reason for this? Would someone in authority answer these questions?

It cannot be that the government/NIS does not have money. They have billions from VAT and they have money from the Lotto Fund. Should there be any disaster in some country the government would immediately find millions to send there.

Additionally, I read – among other things – how the NIS is buying a Paramaribo property used for the Guyana embassy and has also bought for  $600M a building owned by Clico in Camp Street. This building now houses GRA staff. What is going on here with NIS funds?

Stop this misuse of NIS monies and pay the pensioners above the NIS minimum pension the percentage increase accrued to them, and stop trying to rob us old people. Treat the Senior Citizens with due respect. We have needs too.

I call upon all those affected to speak out on this matter. I also call upon the government to show how caring it is by paying what is rightly due to us now. This disrespect must not continue.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

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