NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government has made no determination on repeated recommendations to increase the National Insurance Board’s (NIB) contribution rates, minister with responsibility for National Insurance Brensil Rolle assured yesterday.
“That has always been a conversation within the National Insurance Board. All of its directors have been pursuing government to do just that. The government has not made that determination, though,” Rolle told reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday.
Rolle noted that such a recommendation has been put forward from as far back as 2015, though he admitted that neither the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) nor the Free National Movement (FNM) have been “bold enough” to take the issue to the public.
“During this pandemic, Bahamians now realize the importance and value of NIB,” said Rolle.
He noted that as a result of Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19 assistance, revenue to NIB has been significantly diminished. As a result, Rolle noted, consideration may have to be given to increasing NIB contribution rates, though he suggested a national discussion should be had on the issue.
According to Rolle, NIB is spending nearly $100 million on unemployment assistance alone to support primarily individuals who have never contributed to NIB.
Rolle also noted that the search continues for a replacement to outgoing NIB Director Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle, who last month resigned from her position to become the next executive director of Lyford Cay Foundation.
“The search continues. Dr Rolle has made a commitment to be with us until the end of February. The prime minister has looked at some candidates. We continue to search and a decision will be made shortly,” said Rolle.