NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamians have benefited from nearly $230 million in income support and unemployment assistance since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Public Service and National Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle.
Rolle, while speaking with reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting today, said: “Never before in the history of The Bahamas has any government agency spent as much as NIB (National Insurance Board) on income support and [un]employment assistance.
“I looked at numbers yesterday which suggest that when we look at entire income support and unemployment assistance program, some $219 million has already been spent. That does not include an additional $10 million that will come in the month of February.
“I can easily say that in terms of income support alone, Bahamians have benefited to some degree from nearly $230 million.”
Rolle acknowledged that there is concern regarding the income support and unemployment assistance programs coming to an end.
“That is a concern. We anticipate that industries will be coming back. We understand that they are coming back slowly,” said Rolle.
“I think Bahamians will appreciate that the government has extended income support much longer than we believed possible. If you look at the history of income support in The Bahamas, we anticipated that we would have gone to June. It’s now almost 12 months of solid income support from the government and NIB.”
Rolle also noted that in light of the pandemic, the government took the position that it would not furlough any civil servants or reduce their salaries.