NIS insurable income ceiling up by 10%

The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) yesterday announced a hike in some benefits and an increase in the insurable income ceiling by 10%

In a statement, the NIS said the minimum rate for Old Age and Invalidity Pensions will rise from $25,000 to $27,500 per month. All pensions that are above the minimum pension will go up by 4%.

The monthly insurable income ceiling will rise from $200,000 to $220,000. Last year, the figure had been increased from $170,812 – a 17% increase. The insurable income ceiling is the upper limit on earnings that attract NIS contributions.

The weekly insurable earnings ceiling will rise from $46,154 to $50,769.

According to the statement, the minimum insurable earnings ceiling for self-employed persons will rise from $62,400 to $68,750. The funeral grant will rise from $36,725 to $40,398.

In recent years the NIS had been registering deficits. However, its outlook has begun to improve as the government has reached a deal with it to repay the $5.6b investment it lost when CLICO subsidiaries collapsed in 2009.

The agreement signed by Finance Minister Winston Jordan will see the scheme recovering the sum over a 20-year period. It is in keeping with Parliamentary Resolution 82 of 2009, which had called on the then PPP/C government to take “all possible actions to secure the investments made in CLICO (Guyana) by the NIS on behalf of contributors and beneficiaries of the Scheme to prevent any consequential loss in benefits to them.”

While up to November this year it has recorded a year-to-date deficit of $238.1m, the NIS is projecting a return to a surplus position by the end of this year and for this to continue next year.

At an end-of-year press conference on December 16 at its Brickdam headquarters, Acting General Manager Holly Greaves said that as of November 30, 2016, NIS income from contributions collected was $17.3b or 97.4% of the budgetary allocation. Total expenditure over the same period was approximately $17.5b or 99.5% of its budgetary allocation for capital expenditure and around $34m for capital expenditure. This yields a deficit of $238m.

Greaves said that in December 2016, the NIS is projected to collect a further $2.249b and spend a further $1.7b,

If it attains the $2.249b, this will surpass its revenue target by $1.8b. It attributed this performance to the aggressive pursuit of delinquent contributors,  the rise in the minimum insurable income ceiling for self-employed persons from $53,335 to $62,400 effective January 1, 2016, among other measures.

If it spends a further $1.7b in December, 2016 this will take total expenditure to $19.2b or $1.6b in excess of its budgetary allocation. If it meets its December targets, it will show a surplus.

For 2017, Greaves said that targeted income is $20.2b while current expenditure is budgeted at $19.6b and capital expenditure at $363m. The NIS noted that with the assistance of the government, investment income is to be enhanced by $85.9m next year  based on the repayment from the CLICO investment.

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