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Minimum Wage Rise ‘Not Anytime Soon’

DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

By FARRAH JOHNSON

FINANCE Minister K Peter Turnquest yesterday said the government has not given any detailed consideration to increasing the minimum wage.

He moved to temper expectations after Labour Minister Dion Foulkes told reporters on Tuesday the National Tripartite Council was actively discussing the matter.

Mr Foulkes noted the council has not presented any definitive recommendations.

Yesterday, Mr Turnquest said: “The government has not given any detailed consideration to that matter at this point. I know there is a feeling in the public that there ought to be some adjustments to the minimum wage.

“We of course know that there has been some increase in the cost of living as a result of the increase in the value added tax and the inflation rate shows that, but the trend also shows that is evening out, as we expect, and that over time it will start to normalise.”

Mr Turnquest underscored the need to measure the impact such an increase would have on current growth projections.

“And what it will mean to the increase in the cost of living as a result of a potential increase in the wage, and what dampening effect that may have on employment and the economy,” he said.

The last minimum wage increase was in 2015, during the Christie administration, from $150 per week to $210 per week. This was the first time the national minimum wage was raised since 2002.

Among workers canvassed on the Bay Street strip yesterday, many pointed to last year’s VAT increase from 7.5 percent to 12 percent as the chief argument for an overdue increase.

Rayshunna Moss, a retail sales associate, said: “If your rent is $120 a week and you only getting pay $210 (a week) and you have three small children, what you suppose to do? Especially if you ain’t get no car to go to work - and even if you had a car you need gas. So, I say God bless those who surviving off of $210 because I really don’t know how they is do it.

“That ain’t no money and a lot of places want $120-$150 a week (for rent) so what it leave from that? That’s only $70 you left with for the rest of the week. How you suppose to eat? How you suppose to take care of your kids? How you suppose to even save? You can’t do nothing with $210; they need to raise that to about $300 to be rational and fair. That’s a fair amount give and take according to how your household is too because if you have four children that still ain’t much.”

A bar manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added: “Well I feel like the minimum wage is really too low for the Bahamian people in this economy. Especially the hour rate because it’s only $5.25 per hour, I think it’s really too low. On top of that, with the VAT, the 12 percent is ridiculous. People can’t really survive. Minimum wage for 40 hours a week, that’s only $210. There’s nothing much they can do with that. Like groceries, you go in the grocery shop you coming out with three bags for $150.

“You get children in school, you get rent to pay, I think minimum wage should be no less than at least $9 per hour for all Bahamian citizens. Tourists now these days holding back on their money, they’re not even tipping like that because of the 15 percent gratuity and the 12 percent VAT, so that’s 27 percent on top of their bill. So once they see that, automatically they don’t tip anymore. Now before this 12 percent VAT, minimum wage was okay because people never use to look at the VAT, but right now people carrying home like maybe $15 or $10 in a day. So I really think minimum wage is really too low. It needs to be at least $8.50 to $9 an hour and I think everybody could provide on that hour rate.”

A tour guide, who also requested anonymity, said: “This is how I feel about minimum wage: everything is so expensive here in Nassau, so minimum wage should go up. One person cannot survive on their own living in a household if they want to move out from their parents. What we need to do is we need minimum wage to go up so that if a person decides to move out, they can sustain themselves. We don’t have to have a partner or a roommate just to survive. Food is expensive, clothes is expensive, babies are expensive. We need this to go up. I mean, this is ridiculous. I can’t even survive on my own, my child milk is $22.50, I can’t survive off of that. I have to be begging people for money and yes I work in the tourism business, but that doesn’t mean I making money. But everybody feel as if though we making money, we’re not. So minimum wage needs to go up at least $350 a week. That’s what I feel.”

Comments

Sickened 1 month ago

What about lowering the prime rate to help the economy grow. 4% is WAY too high in these economic circumstances. Bahamians don't have savings so having a lower interest rate on deposits doesn't hurt so much as it will help.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

Banks only lend to borrowers who have hard assets to put up as security, unless you're talking about consumer loans which do nothing for our economy or the financial well-being of the borrowing consumers. Lower interest rates will only benefit the "haves" in our society thereby increasing the existing chasm between the "haves" and the "have nots". The minimum wage should be increased to at least $10.00 per hour, and VAT should be reduced back to 7.5%. Doing this would not result in any significant layoffs by local businesses, most of which already pay an hourly wage of $10.00. Hell, that's what many of us have been paying our gardeners and handymen for years now. And it's clear now that the increase in VAT has done nothing to decrease our national debt or even slow the pace of the government's borrowings....so we should be insisting VAT be rolled back to the original 7.5%

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Great suggestions and real talk.

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geostorm 1 month ago

My question about this wage discussion is this? If you are making $210 per week minus the deductions, why the heck would you have 3 or 4 children......or even one for that matter?

Come on my people, you are doing this to yourselves......and yinna wan get vex when former MP Richard Lightbourne told yinna to close your legs and use contraceptives.......geez man!!!!

Don't get me wrong, there should be an increase in the wage, but for crying out loud, stop having a pile a chirren and start making some sensible decisions!

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bahamianson 1 month ago

I agree with 💯. Do you know what the solution is for people with 3 and 4 children? They just have another

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pablojay 1 month ago

Spot on Geo. My sentiments exactly!

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birdiestrachan 1 month ago

According to Mr: Turnquest the 60% VAT is evening itself out. Where did he get that from? The poor people are suffering.

It is to bad that they do not sit down and get their lies together. Turnquest has one story and the other FNM fellow has a different story.

They are both masterful liars. and the Father of liars the devil in hell must be very proud of both of his children

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bahamianson 1 month ago

Come on, now stop the fake news. We have very few "poor people" in the Bahamas.Respectfully, just stop it. Poor people can't afford to buy hair for $150 every other month, buy fake eye lashes, new outfit, new shoes, and jewellery just to go to a fete party. Poor people can't afford to talk on a $500 Apple phone for hours on end every week. Poor people can't afford to spend hundreds to Mr. Flowers and Mr. Bastian every month. Please stop referring to these people as poor, they make poor decisions

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Damifiknow 1 month ago

What’s wrong with these men Peoples time!. 65% duty plus 12% vat on a car part plus freight and customs fee and these bags of corn chips complain about junk cars every where. The people don’t ask for much and the pass 10 years all you have done is fill your own pockets. Power plants burned up ! Govt. buildings with mold and leaking roofs ! No Maintenance programs . Really good at the Blah Blah Blah! Millions waste on petty things like a post office ! Still take a month to mail to the US! Hospital for Marsh Harbor? Any medical equipment? XRay machine? Just bought a thermostat for my old fridge.GE . Power surges burn it up .find a new one 86.00 7.50 to fort Lauderdale.air courier 35.00 ,vat and duty .broker fee and processing fee 148.00 !!! Just put a weeks pay in the fridge Guess we eat ice cube next week!! Shouldn’t prop glasses on your nose ,you can’t see past them

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Schemer18 1 month ago

He / they should forget 2022 anytime after too.

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Schemer18 1 month ago

They raised the vat within 18 months being in office, & expects Bahamians to survive? They will be gone in 2022.

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OriginalBey 1 month ago

MPs need to try life on $210/week as an experiment for 30 days. Just to sustain themselves. Exclude wife and kids and even the hefty mortgages. I would love to read the reports on thi\eir experiences.

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