The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) will have up until the end of 2014 to verify and enter a whopping 15 million backlogged records into its system, Chairman of the NIS Board Dr Roger Luncheon said earlier this week.
Luncheon, who is Head of the Presidential Secretariat, told his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing that the task is long overdue and that with the contributions of both permanent and contracted staff it will be completed by the end of the year.
Luncheon revealed that Cabinet was concerned that the backlog was too large and the administration is committed to providing assistance, including the necessary resources, to get the work done.
The NIS has been a constant source of frustration to the general public. While Luncheon has been insistent that the NIS is not at a crisis level, critics have contested this fact, including Leader of the Opposition David Granger and financial analyst Christopher Ram. They have previously cited the Eighth Actuarial Report that painted a bleak picture of the Scheme and recommended raising the contribution rate from 13% to 15% no later than January 2013, hiking the wage ceiling to $200,000 per month and a phased raising of the pension age from 60 to 65.
So far the NIS has only increased the wage ceiling to $150,628 from March of 2013 and increased the contribution rates from 13% to 14% in June of 2013.
The draft report was announced in October 2012, almost two years onward and the NIS is yet to take critical steps to reform the situation.
The report had revealed that the NIS operates much the same way it did over 40 years ago and in 2011 the NIS experienced its first ever deficit in its 42-year history of $371M.
The 2014 Budget has allocated $226 million to the Scheme. In 2013, NIS received $110 million.