NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The National Insurance Board has paid out some $5.34 million over more than 11,000 unemployment benefit claims amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to NIB director Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle.
Dr Rolle also confirmed that under the government’s unemployment benefit assistance program which was recently extended to self employed persons outside of the tourism sector, over 2,100 claims have been approved at $816,000.
The initial relief program covered sole proprietors and agents without employees who earn most of their income in the tourism sector, namely straw vendors, hair braiders, taxi drivers and jet ski operators.
Minister of State for the Public Service and NIB Brensil Rolle told Parliament earlier this week that the National Insurance Board (NIB) was bracing for a ‘major draw down’ on it resources to the tune of at least an additional $16 million per month amid the COVID-19 crisis.
He noted that funding to provide unemployment assistance to thousands of Bahamians has exceeded budgeted expenditures. Minister Rolle noted that NIB currently processes between 6,000-7,000 unemployment benefit applications in a year.