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Govt sucking NIB reserves dry

The Minnis Administration is sucking the National Insurance Board’s reserves dry while giving the public the impression that the Public Treasury is funding the government’s unemployment assistance program.

$91.9 million has been paid out to 36,959 persons during the COVID-19 pandemic. In October, NIB’s reserves stood at $1.7 billion.

That growing figure does not include funds paid out by NIB as part of its 13-week unemployment benefit. This is in addition to the other monthly benefit payments NIB makes to new mothers, the sick and injured as well as pensioners.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said unemployment assistance has been extended to the end of January 2021, placing further financial burden on the country’s social safety net.

With each extension, the government is forcing NIB to dip further into its reserves but is not giving NIB a single dollar to help fund the program because the Public Treasury can’t come up with the cash to assist workers impacted during the pandemic.

Additionally, the government is not making any payments on its debt to NIB. The government is supposed to pay the National Insurance Board for all of the buildings it is leasing from NIB, including Police Headquarters on Grand Bahama and the Public Service Building.

Some fear this will place the future of NIB in jeopardy or workers will be forced to pay higher monthly contributions to help sustain national insurance.

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