Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. (File photo)
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE government has received $7.4m in donations through various channels in aid of Hurricane Dorian related efforts, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday.
Speaking at Parliament yesterday, Dr Minnis further announced a VAT exemption on fuel for generators in areas of Abaco and Grand Bahama still without electricity and an extension of the ongoing exigency order until December 31.
Dr Minnis said the government was also considering how to assist business owners who lost large volumes of inventory as a result of Hurricane Dorian.
Regarding donations, the prime minister said there will be a marked difference in how his administration conducts business when compared to the previous Christie administration.
“In this hurricane relief effort there will be accountability,” Dr Minnis told the House of Assembly yesterday.
“I just want to give an update. There are many Bahamians who believe we’re collecting billions and billions of dollars. That is not true.
“I want to point out that as of today we would have received donations to the tune of $7,443,938.64 – not hundred of millions of dollars that people believe.”
He also said: “Just to give an idea of the expenditure, but we will keep the Bahamian people updated as to how much money we collected and how it is spent.”
He said the government has spent $1,934,359.35 on RVs, inclusive of fixed bank charges, and $2,750,000 for mobilisation on dome structures.
“Be assured that this government will give updates of the monies received so that individuals would not feel that we are misappropriating the funds. We will account and report to this Parliament as to every cent we receive and how every cent was spent. We will account for the donations we received.
“We will account for the money that we spend and we will report to the Bahamian people on this process as it develops. We believe that a government should be able to account for the money that we spent in the hurricane relief effort.
“The Bahamian people know you very well. They know the other side,” Dr Minnis continued.
He said the government was aware of the cost associated with fueling generators as power supply is still not connected in certain areas.
“I want to remind those homeowners and residents, especially in the cays, that the government recognises the cost to you of utilising generators in the absence of power supply and the government will remove VAT off diesel, off fuel you purchase for your generators.
“The government is also considering how we can assist the restocking of supplies that would have been lost,” Dr Minnis said yesterday.