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Unemployment benefit extended through Christmas

The Government-funded unemployment benefit will continue through December, according to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

The money will come from an additional $45 million the Government has made available to assist the country’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement during his national address on Sunday came amid uncertainty over whether the government could afford to extend the unemployment benefit beyond September.

$150 million has been spent on unemployment assistance during the pandemic.

National Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle has said the government is considering reducing its weekly unemployment assistance payments from $150 to $100.

In addition to the unemployment benefit extension, Minnis said $10 million dollars has been allocated for a second phase of the national food programme to the end of December 2020.

“This is a government-sponsored program to ensure that Bahamians receive food assistance in a timely and responsible manner,” said Minnis.

The food programme is administered by the National Food Distribution Task Force, a collaboration of the Ministry of Social Services and Non-Governmental Organizations.

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