Are we really addressing operations, viability of NIS?


first_imgDear Editor,Recently, the media carried an article on the operations of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) arising from a bi-partisan Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Social Services meeting with the senior officials of the NIS. Having read the following: “NIS recorded successive deficits since 2015-GM “(General Manager),” “the current fund stands at $31.9 billion,” “this year, NIS is expected to pay out $23.6 billion with contributions projected to reach $23.2 billion.” As a financial analyst, what was reported was basically confusing to me. Hence, I will enlighten our citizens on my assessment of the operations and future viability of the NIS. 1. I have neither in recent times seen an audited nor unaudited Financial Statements (FSs) in the news media. As a public entity, I am appalled that FSs are not published. Certainly, citizens like myself will be interested in calculating and analysing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in order to assess among others, NIS’ financial position, its performance, its liquidity balance, and its future viability. Some KPIs which an analyst will need in order to determine the viability of this scheme are: its net loss/income margin, its return on investment, its debt to equity ratio, its accumulated surplus, its investment portfolio and income (if any) accruing from those investments, and last but by no means least, its funding of the asset deficit to meet future obligations. 2. I am of the view that since the NIS commenced its operations in September 1969, the composition of its Board of Directors leaves much to be desired. Based on published information over the years, this Board is and continues to lack the appointment of a director(s) with experience on Actuarial Valuation of pension schemes. 3. What should have been discussed at length at that meeting (not reported by the news media) is/are the Report(s) of the Actuary. If the Actuary is Bacon Woodrow and de Souza Limited from Trinidad, that firm is known to be doing high quality work on evaluating pension schemes in Guyana. What has been disclosed by the GM and I quote “based on the last actuarial report, the life of the scheme should come to an end in 2021/22. I am worried and confused by that revelation by the GM. It seems to me that NIS may not exist after 2022, which is most unlikely. Surely the Actuarial Reports (normally every five years) over the past two decades have been repeating the same issues, and no serious action is apparently being taken on those pertinent issues. 4. What is an actuarial valuation? It is a type of appraisal of the NIS’ assets and liabilities of which investment, economic and demographic assumptions are used in order to determine the funded status of this pension scheme. Mention has been made of GuySuCo owing in excess of $1.5 billion as well as other businesses. The management at that parliamentary meeting had indicated that it has been taking action to recover contributions owing which is a positive effort. However, as mentioned above, it is imperative that the authorities need to determine the required contributions needed to fund future benefits over time and in so doing will eventually eliminate the Scheme’s deficit. Persistent underfunding, as it appears to be, will ultimately jeopardise NIS’ sustainability. 5. Besides the actuarially valuation the efficiency level of the staff needs to be address and be improved. For example, why the payment of a benefit has to take two, three, four months to be made after the documentation has been accepted. Yours truly and I know of many others, who have had this experience. That being said, the financial position, performance and the ability to pay future benefits are cause of major concern of NIS’ current operations. Our emphasis, among others, has to be on the Actuarial Reports which information is indeed complex and can be difficult to understand for those who are not accustomed to working with this kind of information. It is my view that the authorities have to reveal financial information such as the extent of the Scheme’s asset deficit, the required contributions percent to clear this deficit, the period of time it will take to clear this deficit, who are to make these contributions, will it be the employers, the employees, the Government or all three parties. These are not easy decisions to make, hence it is imperative that the decision makers have a full understanding of the schemes’ operations and its implications in both the short-and long-term. I do not see the life of NIS ending in 2021/22. Let’s address the pertinent issues in a prompt and efficient manner, and we will need the involvement of the actuarial firm, and perhaps other financial specialists on the way forward towards this scheme’s viability.Yours sincerely,John Seeramlast_img read more

Roberto Martinez: In-form Everton star still some way away from fulfilling full potential


first_img1 Ross Barkley Midfielder Ross Barkley rediscovering his best form is welcome news for Everton, but manager Roberto Martinez believes he is a long way from fulfilling his potential.All the evidence from the England international’s eight appearances so far this season, in which he has already scored three times, point to a return to the scintillating form he showed 18 months ago.Barkley scored just twice last season and Martinez believes a knee injury on the eve of that campaign left the 21-year-old playing catch-up and trying too hard to reproduce his magic.JOEY BARTON ON ROSS BARKLEY: ‘HE CAN BECOME THE BEST WE’VE EVER SEEN IN THIS COUNTRY!’But a summer of rest and proper preparation has rejuvenated the player, who has just racked up his 100th appearance for the club.“Ross is in a very good moment of form,” said Martinez.“He has a real good mindset and it is incredible he has already reached that landmark – 100 games is an incredible figure.“I see Ross as a very enthusiastic footballer who wants to get better and he hasn’t fulfilled his potential yet.“But he is focused on the next game and he is narrowing his aims and objectives into achievable goals so in that respect I have no worries about Ross.“His mindset is perfect to carry on having big impacts in games and being important for the team, as he has been so far.“He came back after a very good summer in which he was able to switch off from football and I think all the lessons we had as a team in Europe (last season) in particular Ross, as an individual, made him a better player.“We all know the quality he has. When you add good decision-making on that package of physical presence and technical ability is when Ross is at his very best.“Good decision-making depends on many things. It is how good the team is playing, how easy it is to play with players around him and that natural approach of being able to be yourself.“All those aspects have come together and Ross is enjoying his football and when he is enjoying his football he can show the level he has.”last_img read more