No solvency concerns at NIB — says financial secretary

No solvency concerns at NIB — says financial secretary
Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson (file photo)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Acting Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson yesterday assured that there are no solvency concerns regarding the National Insurance Board (NIB).

Johnson said NIB has been able to withstand the COVID-19 shock despite paying out some $93 million directly to beneficiaries as result of the pandemic.

“We can state categorically that NIB remains solvent,” he said.

“The money contributed to NIB goes into a reserve that is invested. NIB is properly capitalized, it produces its reports annually to speak to its capitalization and this has allowed it to weather a shock like this.”

He was speaking at a press conference yesterday.

Johnson noted that as a result of the fall-out from the pandemic increasing the number of individuals seeking unemployment benefits, NIB has gone from seeing a few thousand to 30,000 applications.

“NIB remains solvent. There are really no concerns there,” he in response to Eyewitness news inquiries.

Minister of Public Service and NIB Brensil Rolle had previously indicated that NIB could only continue to payout unemployment benefits up to this month.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest said that with the opening up of the economy and the tourism sector restarting October 15, the government anticipates that more persons will be returning to work and thus reducing the need for unemployment assistance payouts.

“By then we anticipate that with the opening up of the economy that will relieve some of the pressure and more people will go back to work allowing us to utilize the remaining resources budgeted for this program to go a bit further for those who may take a bit longer to  get back into the swing of things,” said Turnquest.

“We will continue to do what e can to support Bahamians the best we can

The finance minister noted that NIB has a defined period for which one can access benefits – 13 weeks.

“The government kicked in another 13 weeks to bolster that program,” Turnquest said.

“At the end of that period in September we will make some decisions based on resources available.”