Senior Citizens Affected by National Insurance Glitch and LATE Tax Returns a Possibility
The National Insurance Office wishes to advise customers that a hardware malfunction has severely affected its computer network. As a result, the delivery of all benefits including pensions will be delayed. The NIS technical team has been working consistently to rectify the matter but it is anticipated that it will take about three weeks to correct the problem and restore the network to its full capacity. The National Insurance Office apologises for the inconvenience caused – NIS Website (30.09.2014)
The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has advised that they have encountered a computer hardware problem and it will take about three weeks (they hope) to mail benefit cheques including pensions. It is unimaginable if the same malfunction were to occur in a private sector company the catastrophic impact it would have on the business. The cryptic message delivered by the NIS fails to give insight as to the nature of the problem therefore Barbadian taxpayers and those directly impacted by the hardware problem are left to speculate as to how come.
Thousands of senior citizens who depend on pension (benefit) cheques – to sustain themselves – will have to find creative ways to survive for about a month. The thought of old people who do not have access to alternative sources of financial support having to survive in the period is heart wrenching. The inability of the Minister of Labour to propose alternative payment options points to an insensitivity (inability) to respond in a crisis situation. And this is another component of the problem we hope is on the radar of the managers.
Barbadians have had to endure failure of systems at the Barbados Licensing Authority and of interest to BU the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) in the last week. It is a fact of life that system failures will occur, it is the inability of managers of the systems to implement a robust contingency plan.
According to the relevant Act the Barbados Revenue Authority will have to release tax refunds by the end of this month or pay interest to taxpayers. Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on a Sunday talk show in July made light of feedback in response to concerns expressed about the possibility of late distribution of tax refunds – Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Commissioner of the Barbados Revenue Authority Margaret Sivers Meet Talk Show Host Corey Layne to Debate the Muni Tax. All reasonable people understand the government is challenged with finances but if the state of affairs continue with the government defaulting on a weekly basis on payments, the confidence the Governor of the Central Bank and others harp about will remain as elusive as the content of the FBI report or Transparency Legislation.
The problem affecting the BRA is more than a cashflow problem. The retrenchment exercise has wreaked havoc on the unit and key individuals who have the experienced about the relatively new system have left the department. The statement issue by the BRA’s public relations Officer Erica Lazare should be taken as the usual b*****t.
In the uncertainty about so many things there is the unabated silence of our leadership.