National Insurance Services of St Vincent and the Grenadines
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The National Insurance Services (formerly called the National Insurance Scheme) became operational on January 5th, 1987. It is a statutory corporation established by Act No. 33 of 1986 and its functions are executed in accordance with a number of legislations. The institution falls under the portfolio of the Minister of Finance and is governed by a nine-member board of Directors.
The aim of the National Insurance Services is to provide social security protection to all nationals of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the Diaspora. This is demonstrated through the provision of benefits to contributors such as sickness, maternity, invalidity, employment injury, funeral and Survivors’. These benefits are financed by contributions paid by members and investment returns.
The Institution provides coverage to the following groups of persons within the age group 16 to 60 years:
- Self-employed Contributors
- Voluntary Contributors (local and abroad)
Under the NIS Act, all workers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are mandated to make contributions to the National Insurance Services. Currently, the total rate of contribution is 8% of insurable earnings. Of this total rate, the employee is required to pay 3.5% and this is matched by 4.5% by the employer. The contribution rate for a self-employed contributor and a voluntary contributor is 7.5% and 6.84% respectively.
NIS ROLE AS A SOCIAL SECURITY INSTITUTION
- To provide a social safety net for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the Diaspora
- To provide a cushion for members who suffer contingencies involving the loss or reduction of income
- To help secure an improved quality of life for insured members
NIS Social Outreach Programmes
- The NIS is fulfilling its mandate by contributing to the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines through its social outreach programmes:
- Significant contributions were made in the field of education through the funding of the National Student Loan Programme.
- NIS makes home ownership a reality by contributing to the NCB 100% Mortgage Finance Programme for Public Servants.
- NIS aids in the reduction of unemployment, and the growth and development of the micro enterprise sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by providing funds for the NCB Micro Enterprise loan Programme.
- EC$6 million was advanced to the National Fishing Fleet Expansion Programme. This provides loans to fishers, fish handlers and vendors, and other self-employed stakeholders in the fishing industry.
- Significant contributions were made in the field of Health. One such contribution was the donation of the Ultrasound and C.T. Scan machines for the Kingstown Hospital.
- In an effort to improve the conditions and services towards the elderly population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the NIS in partnership with the Government has constructed two activity centres for senior citizens. One Centre is located at Cane Grove on the Leeward side of the Country. The other is located at Black Point on the Windward side.
- The Non-Contributory Assistance Age Pension (NAAP) was instituted in 1997 for persons who could not have contributed to the NIS because of their age, but were members of the National Provident Fund. It is also paid to some indigent persons who were identified following a means test exercise, and those farmers who were displaced from the banana industry.
- The NIS introduced the Elderly Assistance Benefit (EAB) in 2009 to help cushion persons who were affected as a result of the global financial crisis.