Public Services and National Insurance Minister Brensil Rolle.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
AN additional $4m to $10m is needed to extend the government’s unemployment benefit assistance through January 2021, National Insurance Board Minister Brensil Rolle revealed yesterday.
In a national address Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the government made the decision to extend the unemployment benefit, adding that the food assistance programme will also continue for the first quarter of 2021.
Asked how much more money was needed to fund the unemployment extension programme for an additional month, Mr Rolle said: “It depends. Roughly four to six million dollars on that extension and that depends also on how many persons have come back to work so it could be any range (from) $4m to $10m.”
Mr Rolle said NIB has been left strained from this exercise.
However, he said a policy decision has not yet been made on whether NIB contributions will increase.
“NIB is strained,” he said. “Our funds have been impacted.
“We have spent over $180m in this exercise so we say to you help us educate the public and let’s see what the results are.
“If you are successful in convincing the Bahamian public there will be an increase,” the minister also said.
NIB will have to navigate how to best handle the extension and a decision over contributions at a time when its Director Nicolla Virgill-Rolle has until February before she officially leaves the post.
It was confirmed last week that Mrs Virgill-Rolle is set to become Lyford Cay Foundations’ new executive director.
As for the search for a new director, Mr Rolle said selections had not yet been narrowed down.
“The director is obligated to work for NIB until February of next year,” Mr Rolle said, adding, “The process of examination of finding somebody is going to take us some time and NIB at the administrative level is well able to continue beyond that time.”