Delivering the keynote speech at the NIS Customers Appreciation Day, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told pensioners that one of his primary obligation is to keep the NIS sound.
“I have to make sure that we look forward and see the kind of changes which we have to make so that the NIS remains financially viable to serve the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines”.
Gonsalves further urge the over 7000 pensioners in the nation to be guardians of the social security system.
In speaking to retirees present, he said: “you are of mature years, you have been through life, full of wisdom, you have been able to sift things, not jumping to hasty conclusions but assessing matters carefully, that puts you in a unique position to protect the social security system”.
Gonsalves told pensioners that when the NIS had started people were going about the country saying that the Government ran out of money hence the need to take 5percent of your pay.
“ A lot of individuals with university degrees carried that falsehood, but God bless Milton Cato, who said at the time he saw the National Providence Fund as a forerunner to a National Social Security System”.
The Prime Minister said: “it is not wise to hate or dismiss something beneficial to a nation because you don’t like the individual bring forth such, but get the facts and such facts are not hard to obtain”.
“ Two sittings of parliament ago I tabled in the house of assembly the accounts for 2015, in Barbados, they have not presented the accounts for the NIS in seven years according to the Nation Newspaper”.
“Not only are we updated I have placed it in the parliament so that everyone can get the information”.
Gonsalves also told pensioners that the minimum age pension established in 1987 began at 40 dollars.
However, there have been premium increases in 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2012.
The NIS customers appreciation day was held on Thursday 5th January as part of the institution’s 30th-anniversary celebrations.
By Ernesto Cooke