OVER ITS 25 YEARS OF SERVICE to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the National Insurance Services (NIS) can boast of an enviable track record.
And in an effort to provide an easy understanding of its workings, two publications were launched: “NIS Made Simple” for Schools and “Walk Through” for workers. In addition, the NIS on Wheels Programme, bringing the NIS to the communities, has received a “Best Practice” Award from the International Social Security Association (ISSA).
Towards ensuring that it would not be left behind, as far as regional and internationals protocols are concerned, the NIS played a pivotal role in the region’s adoption of the CARICOM Social Security Reciprocal Agreement, the adoption of the ILO Occupational Health and Safety in the Workplace, and the ILO Decent Work Age policies..
But the NIS has not confined itself to only providing a social safety net for Vincentians. It has used its resources in advancement of the nation’s development in general. In education, the NIS has provided for the National Student Loan programme.
It has supported the 100% Mortgage Finance Programme for public servants, initiated through the then National Commercial Bank.
And in direct response to invigorating the productive sectors of the economy, the NIS has supported the NCB Micro Enterprise Loan Programme, providing EC $6 million for the National Fleet Expansion Programme. This provides loans to fishers, fish handlers and vendors and other self employed stakeholders in the fishing industry.
Health care has not escaped the NIS outreach, as evidenced by its donation of Ultrasound and C.T. Scan machines, which have brought immeasurable value to the functionality of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
The retired and elderly citizens have not been neglected. They now have access to two activity centers for senior citizens in Cane Grove and Black Point, as a result of NIS partnership with the Government. The centres are served by buses, and the elderly can also look forward to the NIS Annual Day for the Elderly as an added opportunity for interaction.
The Non- Contributory Assistance Age Pension (NAAP) was instituted in 1997 for persons who were not eligible to make contributions to the NIS, but were members of the National Provident Fund. This ‘pension’ is also made to some indigent persons, and some displaced farmers have also benefited from the programme.Lest the impression is given that it is all work and no play for staffers at the NIS, the Regional Social Security Games provide for some exercise and sporting rivalry and the presentation of its own ‘Monday Mas Band’ for Vincy Mas (2008 and 2009) have ensured involvement in the cultural life of the nation they serve.