“National Insurance can’t sustain us” — says economist

“National Insurance can’t sustain us” — says economist
Rupert Pinder

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas is in a ‘very precarious situation’, according to an economist and University of Bahamas lecturer who warned “National Insurance can’t sustain us”.

Rupert Pinder told Eyewitness News that recent restrictions on commercial flights from the United States would serve to further exacerbate this nation’s need for foreign currency.

“Without any significant tourism dollars coming in, at some point it’s going to impact the domestic economy,” said Pinder.

“This economy runs on foreign currency. Any sort of domestic activity is not really sustainable in the absence of foreign currency in the medium to long term.”

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar stressed earlier this week that the country remains open to US visitors though their mode of entry into the country has been restricted to private aircraft and pleasure crafts. 

Still, most of the country’s stopover visitors come via commercial airlines.

The Nassau Airport Development (NAD) company recently revealed that it had approximately 5,600 U.S. and international arrivals since the opening of the country’s borders to international travel on July 1.Back in July 2019, the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation recorded 133,966 air arrivals into New Providence.

Yesterday, Pinder said: “I am concerned about the economic state of the country. In my view we are in a very precarious position. National Insurance is not going to be able to sustain us. I think it’s important that persons understand the link between what is happening and the need to earn foreign exchange.

“Without those tourism dollars we are in big trouble. I am certainly cognizant of the health concerns and what is happening with COVID-19 but we can’t ignore the economic aspect.”