NIS Virus

Barbados Underground has been exhaustive in its prosecution of the mismanagement of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). Government after government has mismanaged the Scheme. The issues range from faulty governance practices, late production and availability of actuarial reports, updated certified audited financial statements, appointment of incompetent individuals to the board, questionable IT decisions, questionable investment decisions…

As usual, taxpayers are left holding the ‘bag’.

The raging COVID19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the NIS which has come has no surprise to some members of the BU family. To be expected the partisan political players will seize the opportunity to criticize to feed a rabid political appetite. The time has come however to have a mature discussion about the state of the NIS and what measures are urgently needed to protect the fund.

Is it possible for Barbadians to understand the importance of a dispassionate debate about the NIS?

Is it possible for politicians to understand the time has come to address structural deficiencies how the NIS is being managed?

Chairman of the fund Leslie Haynes declared this week the NIS Board has submitted a paper to Cabinet to approve the transition to a Statutory Board. Elsewhere in the press Leader of the Opposition Joseph Atherley has questioned how the NIS and Central Bank of Barbados are being managed.

Relevant link:

Discussed for 100 marks

126 comments

  • @ John A March 7, 2021 8:37 AM
    “No company with revenue a fraction of the NIS is allowed by the same government to file annual tax returns unless audited, so why did they allow the fund to go unaudited for years then? Is it a case of do as I say not as I do?

    There is no excuse for what has been allowed, it is a blatant case of mismanagement by those involved in a multi billion dollar portfolio owned by us the taxpayers, that has been allowed to go on for years.

    Finally internal financials CAN NOT take the place of audited financials. Who checks the checker? If it was a store would you take the word of the cashier that this was todays sales or does something check after her to confirm? Also by LAW audited financials have to be filed by specified guidelines.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    That’s what you call a ton of commonsense in a thimble for a nutshell!

    The thing about those ‘questionable’ financials is that they were promised from the time the ex-banker Tony Marshall was sitting in the Chair.

    Even The Management Science guru on the Hill Dr. JR made it one of his ironclad deliverables before he ‘demitted’ the chair.

    One can only reach the conclusion that there must be more in the ‘audited’ financial statements preparation mortar than just simply the pestle of technical (in)competence.

    Maybe the current incumbent in the same chair made of a litany of fair-weather promises to deliver ought to take a lesson from his stint on the CLICO Board and seek to ferret out the rat(s) playing a long-standing game of financial hanky-panky.

    Why not engage the services of a forensic accountant experienced at the (re)constructing of draft financial statements from Incomplete Records?

    Then they will know if the Board would have to call in that special branch of the Law Enforcement agencies to take matters from there.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @Crusoe et al
    Recall there was another very senior employee in the finance area, a Dr. Worrell, who opted to go Public, and refuse to do what his elected boss wanted, and he was immediately FIRED. That is your fate if you refuse to do what the elected desire. Refuse privately, and you either get transferred within the GoB mass of entities, or, you are placed on administrative leave. (ask Artax about the Insurance regulator) Whatever, you are moved out of the way, so the elected can have their way.
    Our truth is, we do know for sure, there are not audited annual financial reports? Nor that without the audited financial component, there are not annual reports. What we know is they have never been entered into the public realm, otherwise an alternate interpretation of “being laid in the House”.
    We can go on about mismanagement, failure to perform fiduciary duties etc etc
    What we must realise, white or black, Bonanno or Gambino, CIBC or Republic, BLP or DLP, Democrat or Republican, we are dealing with a fraternity.
    The continued lack of accountability, is fed and fueled, by the assurance that any topic will be reduced to a battle between opposing forces. And the proponents just sit back and smile, assured they will get called a few names, but otherwise, make hay while the sun shines.

    Like

  • @ Artax

    I agree with everything you and Hal are saying. All I am saying is that until such time as a new system Is implemented we should at least try to make this function as best we can and government need to keep their hand out the cookie jar.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ John A

    Welcome back on track.The problem is locating the the sources of the mismanagement. I think you have given enough pointers. It is important to define mismanagement. Draft and final financial statements may be provided by all corporation at the end of a reporting period. It is the Financial Statements on which the External Auditors have expressed their opinion that is required by law.
    The Actuarial Report is not necessary every year .It is done triennially or every five years depending on significant Demographic or Financial Markets disequilibria. I do not aware that these are not timely prepared and presented. Maybe David Bu has information to the contrary.

    Like

  • @Miller

    First thanks for the kind words, but did this government when it was campaigning not promise the matter of the NIS and its financials would not be addressed if they got in as a matter of urgency?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    Correction

    “I am not aware…” not “I do not aware”.

    Like

  • @ Vincent

    Yes and it is the lack of audited financial statements that it seems Mr Haynes is not happy about. It would appear that his point is that they have been working on internal financials for way too long and it is time these were confirmed by an external audit.

    At least that is how I read his concerns as being. I think his point is that there needs to be a fresh start but that can only be confirmed by an audit in terms of what the base of that fresh start is.

    To be honest I think based on what I outlined on the fund with all its useless paper etc we all know the condition of the fund. What the audit will show though is what is ground zero and then we have to decide where do we go from here.

    Like

  • Certainly public scrutiny of the actuarial report is important for there to be confidence by society in the long term health of the fund. It is a social security blanket for godssake.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @ david.

    Yes and that is the chairman’s point as I see it. My point basically is the same, but at this stage while I would love an audit to be done, to me the more important issue is a confirmation of the assets based on market value coupled with confirmation of the annual earnings from the current asset base.

    Once we have established that and know what we have we can then decide what we want to do with it.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ John A

    I think you need to carefully read an external auditors’ statement very carefully. It does not deliver the verity that you claim.

    Like

  • @John A

    You are getting tied up with the market value of NIS assets. Forget it. That is theoretical. Whatever it is, transfer the lot to a new Sovereign Wealth Fund and start anew with blank piece of paper.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver

    @JohnA
    it is obvious you have a positive view of the Chair, for you have managed to attribute a great deal of potentially positive moves or thoughts to him. My disadvantage these days, is I rarely have any personal connection to the players. It is like watching cricket between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. My bias for a WI win doesn’t enter the fray.

    Like

  • @NO

    You know the problem, successive governments see advantage in playing loose with the fund.

    Liked by 1 person

  • NorthernObserver

    @VC
    “The problem is locating the the sources of the mismanagement. I think you have given enough pointers”
    Since you can identify the pointers, what/where are the source(s)?

    Like

  • @Vincent

    After such a long period of unaudited activity the confirming of the assets is a priority. If as Hal and others have said maybe we need a new plan. Point is to start a new plan we still need to confirm the assets for a starting point of the old plan

    Like

  • The good news is some people with long memories are giving corbin the racist licks on FB…real licks, don’t know who started them up again, but he better leave the island cause they are planning to starve the retard out….🤣🤣 am sure he can get work cleaning pig pens in Australia..

    Like

  • Between Atherley, Prescod and the useless lawmakers Barbados got, i don’t know who is worse, that shite about a new marijuana law re fine for a tiny amount like they’re doing someone a favor when no other country is doing that, is not even worth talking about, best case scenario, is THROW ALL OF THEM OUT OF THE PARLIAMENT COME 2023….no one except for fowl Slaves will miss them.

    ..i have never come across such a bunch of ineffectual, self-hating nonprogressive negros, won’t want any of them near me…they carry way too much hatred for Black people…..they are a disgrace to Black/African people everywhere…they can’t blame anyone for the repulsive way they are…..and everyone has to know about them and their sickening attitudes toward their own people…

    but they are pedigree so….

    https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.15752-0/p206x206/154765722_856184051624114_3010331708413799968_n.png?_nc_cat=100&ccb=1-3&_nc_sid=58c789&_nc_ohc=gctaKO2ZhvEAX-COo4u&_nc_ad=z-m&_nc_cid=0&_nc_ht=scontent.xx&_nc_tp=30&oh=1d41e7d5f37af1ce1f13bfa7f76f8a5d&oe=606AB7C3

    Like

  • I got it from reliable resources that those reckless lawyers and judges got personal injury cases in the Supreme COurt longer than THIRTY YEARS…yes, that’s right 30, even when liability has been established, so it’s DEFINITELY the cruel lawyers and judges colluding to do this….hand and hand with the insurance companies, THAT’S A RACKET….racketeering.

    Like

  • This root of all our financial problem.
    We are tied to the Western Fnancial System which is the greatest ponzi scheme
    ever.

    Like

  • So hear how this is going to work out, since you MFs are so BRAZEN and DETERMINED that Black people will get NO JUSTICE at that stinking corrupt supreme court…ya will continue your shite, with the young, middled aged ELDERLY not getting any compensation for over 30 YEARS because judges and lawyers are RACKETEERING with insurance companies…

    you have 60 YEARS and OLDER CAN’T MOVE FORWARD…because you dirty, SELLOUT NIGAS are WAITING FOR THEM TO DIE…as a judge put it to AN ELDERLY CLAIMAINT, it’s better if the injured DIES that way the insurance companies will PAY LESS, and we know that means….PAY NOTHING AT ALL….because of course the BITCH WORKS FOR THE INSURANCE COMPANIES and NOT FOR TAXPAYERS….WHO PAY THEM A MONTHLY SALARY…

    so a 60-70 year old claimaint today 20 years from not will be in their 80s or 90s if they live, yall nasty fcukers will also be OLD OR DEAD…but that doesn’t matter because the stinking CABAL in the Bar Association will just CONTINUE BUSINESS AS USUAL AFTER THE FUNERAL…as that dirty type above is known to do.

    ….so since yall got it all figured out…..please continue and the WHOLE WORLD will GET A STEP-BY-STEP…live PLAY-BY-PLAY…about how ya go about ya RACKETEERING to DESTROY BLACK LIVES……YES, the whole world…..everyone will know who you NASTY EVIL NIGAS ARE….yall picked A WINNER THIS TIME..

    watch muh nuh.

    Like

  • And the difficult part about this, people who know these savage judges and lawyers PERSONALLY….says straight up…THAT NONE OF THEM CARES….

    yep…YALL PICKED A REAL WINNER…who don’t GIVE ONE FCUK EITHER…..so goodluck..ya will need it..

    Like

  • Am not expecting anyone to answer, but would sure love to know how JUDGES…who are:

    paid a monthly salary of between 10-12,000 dollars BY TAXPAYERS…

    have a MERCEDES CAR with DRIVER at TAXPAYER’S EXPENSE…

    allegedly ALSO get A HOUSING ALLOWANCE….PAID BY TAXPAYERS

    and am sure many other PERKS at TAXPAYERS EXPENSE….one day ups and decides that they are AUTONOMOUS…where the hell did that come from, YOU WORK FOR TAXPAYERS as a PUBLIC SERVANT, says so right in the CONSTITUTION….it mentions nothing about judges being autonomous and the little act that got ya thinking ya are SHOUILD BE REMOVED…….you get PAID MONTHLY…where is the AUTONOMY IN THAT….wuh since ya so autonomous you should NOT be working in a taxpayer funded building and ya sure as hell don’t need a salary…by taxpayers either…

    i swear something is VERY WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE.

    Like

  • The NIS reminds me of Bernie Madoff.

    Like

  • The place is infested with thieves, best to bypass the island.

    “Guilty as charged
    FORMER BANKER ADMITS TO THEFT OF MORE THAN QUARTER-MILLION DOLLARS FROM CUSTOMER’S ACCOUNT

    A former bank employee has admitted to embezzling $290,000 from a customer’s account and using the funds to pay off his jeep, his debts and that of the mother of his child as well as partying among other things.
    Kevin Dacosta Cadogan, of Arthur’s Seat, St Thomas today pleaded guilty before Madam Justice Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell to stealing BDS$290 000 from a Bank of Nova Scotia draft payable to RBTT Bank belonging to the Bank of Novia Scotia. The incident occurred on August 12, 2011.

    He also admitted that sometime between August 1and October 31, 2011 he also stole $22 960 belonging to the Bank of Nova Scotia and engaged in money laundering by directly engaging in transactions totaling $312 960 being the proceeds of crime. Cadogan was 22 years old at the time and he worked at the Bank of Nova Scotia Wildey branch.

    Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Alliston Seale said the account from which the money was stolen belonged to a nurse who had worked in the U.K and U.S before retiring to Barbados.
    The account holder had a pension of over US$3 000 dollars coming to her account. At the time activity on the account was limited to the deposits of her US pension and it was the lack of withdrawal activity that led to her account being targeted by Cadogan.

    The account holder was not in the habit of going to the bank but on one occasion when she did, she noticed that her account balance was about $28. She spoke to the management of the bank about the irregularity and an internal investigation began which showed that Cadogan dealt with the account. He resigned soon after saying that he had found another job but was subsequently caught.

    When told about the investigation he replied,“I have an idea about it.” In a statement to police, he admitted that he worked at the Bank of Nova Scotia Wildey branch and “noticed” an account that hadn’t been “touched”.

    “I noticed external deposits being the only transactions being made to the account of the account holder,” he admitted.”

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  • Retirement planning rethink
    TODAY IS THE first day of a fuller opening of our country during the pandemic. More businesses and service operations can now welcome back employees and customers with a hope of increasing revenues. Government, in turn, will be rolling out a number of capital projects. The plan is for the private sector and the public sector to cooperate in rebuilding economic activity.
    Today, in this prevailing context, we consider another important area of concern at the personal finance level that of retirement savings and pension planning. This will demonstrate how critical national economic recovery is to the financial well-being of retirees, especially impending retirees.
    Let us start by considering those persons about to receive a government pension, or a company pension based on a defined contribution basis within the next few years. Their retirement savings and pension planning is turning out to be one of the most critical areas. Those at or near retirement age will be the ones most negatively affected.
    Pension funds, both government and corporate funds, are held and invested mainly in bonds and shareholdings. Those funds which were invested in government bonds would have been negatively impacted by the 2018 restructuring of Government debt.
    More currently, COVID-19 has had a negative effect on the performance of the majority of local businesses. This is reflected in the fall-off in the market value of the related shares and/or a fall-off in investment income for shareholders through earning a reduced dividend or no dividend at all. Ultimately, COVID-19 contributes to the drop in the value of shares held in pension funds. So, over the past three to four years, the relative value of pension funds would have tended to fall.
    For those employees on a defined benefit pension scheme, any shortfall by the pension fund to fund the defined benefit would have been made up from the employer’s business operating finances. The company bears the risk of such losses and the member of the pension scheme maintains the defined benefit. However, with a defined contribution plan, any such loss in value is for the employee’s member account.
    The concern with regard to government pension arrangements and NIS pensions is related more so to the extent of the imbalance of government revenues and expenditure: Given the reduced employment levels resulting from COVID-19, there is less government revenue from NIS contributions and personal income tax. Businesses are generating reduced levels of profit, and claim in some cases to be experiencing losses. Thus Government is earning less revenue from taxes, indirect (corporate income tax) and direct (VAT on sales) as business volume is reduced.
    On the other hand, government has been valiantly responding to the ballooning needs of workers and the general public in this COVID-19 crisis.
    For example: the increased costs of severance payments, increased unemployment claims; providing novel support for workers to whom employers can offer reduced hours of work; providing assistance to the rising number of needy households; funding the medical, facilities and logistic support for COVID-19 incidences and vaccines and so on.
    The result is Government expenditures that far exceed government revenues for a similar period. This leads to adverse financial pressure on other government expenditures going forward. The NIS pension can be a lifeline for many workers especially those who are not entitled to either another government or corporate pension. In order to sustain the current levels of benefits, Government may be forced to make changes in how NIS is computed.
    It may be necessary to increase the pensionable age, or increase the levels of contribution either by the employer or the employee or both; this latter choice would create further strain on either party that is affected by the increase. Another alternative would be to consider reducing the levels of benefits, The pivotal point is that the coronavirus pandemic has aggravated pension funding problems and concerns, particularly for pending retirees. It is important that they are vigilant, and militant if necessary, about any changes that may adversely affect their retirement planning.
    It is predicted that on the current trajectory, around the 2034 year there would be an adverse turning point. That is of greatest concern to workers currently in the 40 to 50 years age group. It is in their interest in particular (as well as of all other pensioners and would-be pensioners) to increase their knowledge of pension funding and projected benefit and watch for trends and changes Even more important though, extra personal saving and planning can help to make a more comfortable retirement: when it comes to retirement savings, the best help remains self-help to the extent possible.
    Government and the private sector will be doing their best to rebuild a vibrant economy, to get more people back to work while keeping GOVID-19 at bay. A vibrant economy is fundamental in solving most financial problems, nationally, business-wise and personally.
    Louise Fairsave is a personal financial management advisor, providing practical advice on money and estate matters. Her advice is general in nature; readers should seek advice about their specific circumstances. Email louisefairsave@nationnews.com

    Source: Nation

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  • Don’t make NIS a pawn
    THE HISTORY and operations of most state-owned enterprises in Barbados have been fraught with problems and controversies.
    The examples range from the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, National Housing Corporation, Transport Board, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation, to the various versions of the Barbados Tourism Board and other publicly owned businesses.
    Some have suffered from a revolving door of chairpersons and executives while consistently turning in poor performances.
    Neither politicians nor their acolytes have any vested financial interests in the corporations and can exit without hurting in their pockets.
    The recent suggestion to move the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) from the Civil Service to become a statutory board is therefore alarming.
    The NIS is the only institution that fundamentally touches lives in Barbados by providing financial support for people in the time of sickness, invalidity, retirement, at birth and at death.
    Many people may not have paid close attention to the operations of the social security scheme until the COVID-19 crisis caused unprecedented demands on its various funds.
    It has served as a source of funding for past administrations and took a big hit on its earnings when the incumbent executive instituted a “haircut” on Government paper in mid-2018.
    Yet, the NIS remains resilient.
    These challenges highlight the importance of the scheme adhering to specific rules, processes and respecting the separation of powers, between the politicians and its operations.
    Making the NIS a statutory corporation will not inspire confidence in it, but this can be achieved by promoting greater transparency, timely annual reports and an annual public meeting, even if done via an online platform, allowing for robust discussion to examine its performance.
    The NIS must be an autonomous service with an effective management team responsible for the day-to-day operations and a non-political board overseeing strategy.
    Strong financial reporting and vigorous performance monitoring will be key to containing all aspects of risks.
    Sound investments are critical to the NIS, and any review of its operations must seriously consider its ability to operate in foreign currency markets.
    So, before the Government promotes why the NIS should become a statutory corporation, the findings of the latest actuarial review of its operations must be made public and discussed, while a legal and regulatory framework on corporate governance should be established.
    The public must insist that the National Insurance Department be isolated from the Government’s interventions and while the tripartite system of selection to the board has survived since the inception of the scheme, this is the time to demand a board of directors nominated through a transparent process. The role of the chair and the chief executive officer must remain separated.
    This department is not broken but undeniably needs strengthening to improve its performance. This can only be achieved through adherence to better corporate governance rules.
    The social security system must not become another pawn in the partisan political power game. It is too important a lifeline.
    Making the NIS a statutory corporation will not inspire confidence in it . . .

    Nation Editorial 17 03 2021

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