Wednesday 25 November, 2020

Ministry wants Bajans online for cheques before September 1 deadline

The National Insurance Scheme has kickstarted its digital transformation registering over 400 members of the public for its online payment option. 

Minister of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, Senator Kay McConney has revealed that from last week, over 20 digital ambassadors assisted members of the public with the registration process to direct their NIS payments into their bank accounts or credit union accounts. 

During the National Insurance Scheme’s Virtual Awards Ceremony held in June, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that from September 1, the NIS will no longer be printing cheques for short term benefits such as unemployment, maternity, and sickness. All transactions will be paid electronically.

Senator McConney was speaking on Sunday (July 26) at the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) St George branch meeting when she shared that the introductory programme sought to assimilate the Barbadian population with technology. 

"We understand that there are some people in Barbados that are further along. They will adopt technology, they will more comfortable with it, they have a different confidence level and there are some people if you just show them they can pick up right away and they can get it and then there are other people who aren’t like that," McConney explained. 

Adding, "You no longer have to go down to NIS stand up in those lines, wait for hours, and explain yourself two to five times and all of the other service issues".

The Minister of Technology revealed that over 200 university graduates have been trained by the ministry in customer service.  She explained that their responsibility was to help ease the transition into online payments and to "hold the hands of Barbadians" as they learn and adapt to the new technologies. 

McConney went on to suggest that community centres should be used to host educational support courses for individuals who experienced challenges with online transactions and automated teller machines (ATMs). She pointed out those who were having difficulty with the transition to digital technologies should be given an introductory course on "things relevant to their everyday lives". 

"Simply collaborate with financial institutions and do a course on how to use ATM’s make it practical and hands-on, not anybody giving you theory," the Minister recommended. 

She added: "Right now in Barbados as we make our digital transformation, everyone will be asking for an email. Many people say - 'Well I don’t even have a computer, or I don’t understand WiFi'. This is the time when community now comes together and you are able to show each other the basics of what is an email, how you create an email and how to keep your passwords secret so that people you do not trust who may be living in your own house so that they don’t take advantage of you". 

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