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30,000 Apply For Nib Assistance

Public Services and National Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle.

Public Services and National Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE National Insurance Board has paid out more than $5m in unemployment benefits to workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, NIB officials said yesterday.

Giving an update to reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting, Public Service and National Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle said some 12,000 people who have lost their income due to COVID-19 have already received unemployment payments from NIB. About 30,000 people have applied for NIB assistance.

He said: “We are just under 30,000 applications for unemployment assistance. So far, we have spent about $5m on 12,000 applications. We are processing a significant number of small businesses so we expect the numbers would increase significantly.

“We anticipate that Family Islands are somewhat slow, so they are coming in at a slower pace and apart from the normal unemployment assistance offered by NIB, 3,000 persons have applied for the special assistance given by the government in the touristic industry.

“And we are processing those and we have made payments so far to most of those individuals.”

Noting that officials have made progress to expedite the claims, Mr Rolle said he was satisfied with the efforts made by NIB workers to speed up the payment of much-needed benefits.

“You will recall that this process was just announced to us less than two weeks ago and we have made those payments to individuals in the major hotel companies,” he noted.

“I know we are having some slight issues in persons with smaller companies because their process is a little bit slower because some of them are not up to date totally.

“And so, based on what is happening in the process, I’m satisfied with the persons (who) are doing a great job at NIB to ensure that monies are on the grounds and paid to individuals as quickly as possible.”

Although much focus has been directed towards paying out unemployment benefits and assistance, NIB is still committed to carrying out its other obligations to the Bahamian public.

“NIB continues to process thousands of ongoing sickness, maternity and industrial injury benefit claims. Additionally, new applications for retirement and other pensions continue to be processed,” officials said in a statement yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Mr Rolle added: “…We have advanced $20 million in pension payments for the month of April and the only islands that did not get the payments up to date is Grand Cay and Moore’s Island. And we are making those payments this week.”

Asked yesterday if the country can expect to see NIB utilising online platforms in the future, the minister replied: “Absolutely, I had some discussions with my director and she said ‘this is working and what are we going to do’ and I said to her, ‘that’s a good thing.’

“…We’re demonstrating that we can do this online. We are paying the big business directly so for example, we send the monies to Atlantis and Atlantis is just distributing it to their staff.

“We’ve asked individuals in the touristic sector for example, to go online, check our website and fill out the simple form that we have and we will then make an arrangement to pay for them.”

He continued: “We just want to make sure that we pay as quickly as we can and show the Bahamian people that we are there for them and hopefully, they will be there for us. This is an exercise where Bahamians would see the benefit of NIB and of being compliant and making their payments.”

As it relates to those workers whose employers have not paid their NIB benefits, Mr Rolle said NIB is still open to negotiations with those companies.

There have been numerous complaints from some employees in recent weeks, claiming that their employers have deducted but failed to pay their NIB contributions.

Speaking on the matter yesterday, Mr Rolle said: “We’ve taken the position that we’re going to negotiate with these companies. We’re going to reach out to them and have agreements signed with them, but the critical point is our clients, our customers will not be disadvantaged because our company did not pay.

“NIB has the capacity to go after these big companies and we will… but what we want to do is make sure that persons who need the funds can get it and we’ll do the back leg work to talk to these big companies who have not been up to date in their contributions.

Comments

Lknowles 9 months ago

What about the person's that dont qualify for n.i.b assistance I dont see no one helping us how do we get in contact with social services for help if the office is closed?

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Rinks 9 months ago

WHERE IS THE HOTEL UNION....WHAT IS THE HOTEL UNION doing for all the hotel employees laid off.what a Disgrace. Taking in membership dues but over a month Pass but cant offer no assistance to members.

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happyfly 9 months ago

The value for Labor force, total in The Bahamas was 225,780 as of 2019

(https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/the-...">https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/the-...)

If 90% of the labor force is being forced to stay at home during this lockdown = approx 200,000 not making an income. NIB helping with 30,000 of those = approx. 170,000 people NOT making an income right now

At what point is the government of the people going to acknowledge that it simply does not have the capacity to HELP the entire population if the vast majority of the population is not working ?

The Doc must find ways to protect the old and the vulnerable and let the strong and healthy help him to help all of us - by going back to work

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OriginalBey 9 months ago

Work where? Most lay offs are tied to tourism. You have tourists willing to come here even if the airport re-opens? And non essential businesses will not earn break-even revenue from an unemployed populace. So those employees will only be laid off again. This is a long road to recovery. Selling quick fixes will only inflame the ignorant.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months ago

Speaking on the matter yesterday, Mr Rolle said: “We’ve taken the position that we’re going to negotiate with these companies. We’re going to reach out to them and have agreements signed with them, but the critical point is our clients, our customers will not be disadvantaged because our company did not pay.

“NIB has the capacity to go after these big companies and we will… but what we want to do is make sure that persons who need the funds can get it and we’ll do the back leg work to talk to these big companies who have not been up to date in their contributions.

What's being done here is against the law and every director and senior executive team member involved should be sued by employers and their participant employees whose accounts with NIB are up to date.

NIB has absolutely no authority under the law to make benefit payments to delinquent participant employees on the basis of negotiated de facto loans to their delinquent employers. NIB has no such loan making authority and its directors and executive team members are in breach of their fiduciary duties. Monies received by NIB in trust for credit to the fully paid up accounts of participant employers and their employers cannot be used by NIB for the purpose of creating loans for the account of delinquent employers so that their delinquent employees may receive benefits.

The 'loan' agreements that NIB enters into with delinquent employers (borrowers) are tantamount to the robbing of the fully paid up Peters to wrongfully pay benefits to the delinquent Pauls. And given that many, if not most, of the illegal negotiated de facto loans will never by repaid by the delinquent employers (borrowers) bringing their NIB accounts up to date, these illegal loans are in substance the facilitation of the out right theft of funds by way of wrongful benefit payments to the delinquent employees of the delinquent employers; funds that should have been kept held in trust.

One can only begin to imagine the extent of the corruption and fraud going on here, as authorised by the directors and senior executive team members of NIB who are all culpable by their own admission to the public. I smell some major lawsuits down the road against certain persons, and possibly the government itself, for having failed to take delinquent employers to court and instead wrongfully granting them fraudulent loans knowing full well, at the time of their negotiation, that the loans would never be repaid.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months ago

P.S.

NIB is now being run like a rogue bank without a license to make loans that have absolutely nothing at all to do with its investment activities. NIB was never meant to be another bankrupt entity in need of government (taxpayer) support like Bank of The Bahamas! Brensil Rolle and all of the members of NIB's board and senior excutive team should hang their heads in shame for their role in the unlawful activites now going on at NIB. The Bahamian workers and their employers who have paid many thousands of dollars to NIB over the years to keep their accounts current will demand these culprits be held fully accountable for their wrong doing when they find out there is nada in the piggy bank for them to start collecting their much needed retirement and other benefits.

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Dawes 9 months ago

I read in the other Newspaper that work permit holders are not entitled to the unemployment benefit. Whilst this does not affect me, how is this right. As ,long as these people have paid what is due they should be entitled to what benefits there are. If they are not then they should reduce their contributions.

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