By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE National Insurance Board's (NIB) information technology (IT) challenges have caused a 43 per cent decline in productivity, a Cabinet minister revealed yesterday.
Brensil Rolle, minister of state for the public service and National Insurance, lamented that an additional $2 million will have to be spent on "bug" fixes and maintenance enhancements for NIB's V3 System. Mr Rolle, during his contribution to the mid-year Budget debate, blamed the Christie administration for implementing a system he labelled "not ready" and "not able to do the job".
"They just wanted to make an announcement that they were doing something and it is with regret that the public is suffering," he argued. "NIB has had many challenges with its V3 system. Many challenges have impacted NIB's operation.
"The issues are so far-reaching and have impacted the Bahamian public at large. The system requires an overwhelming amount of bug fixes.
At the end of April 2017, the NIB Board had already spent $1.4 million to address some of the bug fixes and enhancements in its maintenance packages.
It is projected that by the end of 2019 an additional $2.3 million will be spent by the Board on fixes."
Mr Rolle added that there was a one-year warranty on the system's software, but100 'bugs' were only uncovered after the period expired.
"NIB has seen a major decline in productivity as a result of the system," he said. "There has been a 43 per cent reduction in productivity. We are going to address that issue. We will address the backlog of claims. From April 2016 to November 2017 there were approximately 4,660 short-term benefit claims outstanding.
"Over that period there were 1,887 long term claims made that were not addressed."
He warned that NIB "will probably lose money again for 2017", and added: "We are committed to stopping this downward spiral by aggressively enforcing compliance."