Programme extended to end of the month; to be re-evaluated monthly
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government has to date spent over $150 million on its unemployment assistance programme, which has been extended to the end of this month, according to Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle.
Speaking with reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Rolle said: “The government assistance programme has been extended for another month. We are aware of the struggles Bahamians are having consistently and we are trying to resolve some of these issues. We are hopeful that things will get better, and it’s looking a bit better.
“[The] government has expended over $150 million on this project so far and it’s costing the government roughly $12 to $15 a month. As soon as persons get back to work, we can divert those funds to some of the other areas.”
Rolle added: “We understand the struggles Bahamians are having at this time. We are there to support the Bahamian people and provide whatever assistance we can.
“On a monthly basis, Cabinet has been evaluating the process. The initial programme was to end in December but we have extended it so far to April.”
According to Rolle, individuals will continue to receive $100 per week.
“The flat rate is $100 per week. We have been consistent with that since we moved back from $150,” said Rolle.
“Many businesses [are] not paying their contributions on a regular. NIB (National Insurance Board) has made a determination to go after those individuals to ensure that they pay.
“We have a system where Bahamians can see if payments have been made on their behalf. I urge Bahamians to go and check the NIB website to confirm that payments are made on their behalf so that there are no surprises at the end of their employment.”
Rolle noted that NIB directly has paid out close to $165 in unemployment assistance to date, noting that there has been a slight decrease in individuals submitting claims as some individuals have been able to return to work.