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Nib Expects 15,000 To Sign On For Benefits

LABOUR Director John Pinder.

LABOUR Director John Pinder.

By Khrisna Russell

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

DEPARTMENT of Labour director John Pinder expects that around 15,000 people affected by the tourism sector shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic will register to receive National Insurance Board benefits.

So far, only a fraction of these workers have registered with the department, with Mr Pinder telling The Tribune yesterday the process has been sluggish.

This is due to many people having a challenge with the online application and a need to streamline the process.

“We are still compiling information and doing the registration now, but for the most part these are persons who are affected by this COVID-19 layoff. But these persons aren’t really terminated, they are laid off,” Mr Pinder told The Tribune.

“If this thing doesn’t turn around in the coming weeks then we may be facing a bunch of people being terminated or given severance packages. But as it stands people are just being (temporarily) laid off.”

He continued: “Persons are registering in order to get the unemployment benefit from NIB. They register through us first and then they go to NIB.

“So initially we had over 1,000 who registered. But we are looking at least 15,000 people to register. In the first couple of days, I think we were able to do close to 2,000, but we had to shut down and some persons are challenged with doing things online so we set up a Facebook page trying to make it easier for them to follow the steps.”

The process has also been made easier as registrants no longer need to be issued a card from the Department of Labour to submit to NIB. Now labour officials forward the information electronically to NIB to verify a person’s status.

On Sunday, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said the temporary unemployment rate could now probably be above 30 percent and was expected to grow, due to widespread hotel closures.

Baha Mar, Sandals, Atlantis and the Melia resorts have all over the last week announced their planned suspension of operations. Some of the resorts intend to pay staff a fraction of their salaries during the difficult time.

“Every single hotel if they have not so declared (that they are shutting down), are probably heading in that direction as the world closes its borders and shuts down,” Mr D’Aguilar said Sunday. “This is going to be grim.”

Comments

joeblow 2 months, 1 week ago

...and this is why the government should never be allowed to borrow funds from NIB for any purpose. When contributors have legitimate needs, the fund can be easily depleted!

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DDK 2 months, 1 week ago

Our Governments suffer from major short-sightedness...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 1 week ago

....not to mention major corruption!

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banker 2 months, 1 week ago

This is where the $1.5 billion that is underfunded in the NIB due to the government, will come back to bite and destroy the Bahamian economy. NIB is in a double whammy. The first is that the government has borrowed its money and can't pay it back. The second is that the government has deliberately underfunded the NIB, writing it an IOU on the money it owes from employee deductions. The true financial state of NIB is hidden behind fancy accounting, but the fact of the matter is that soon after the collapse of the Bahamian economy, NIB will default as well, reducing payments to pensioners and seniors to pennies on the dollar.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 1 week ago

Let's just call a spade a spade. All governments since NIB was established (including the current one) have quite literally raped, pillaged and plundered it. NIB has been operated for decades as a Ponzi scheme....but now that the cash outflows greatly exceed the cash inflows, and with no ability to change this situation by increasing the 'payroll tax' levied on participants and their employers (after all, blood cannot be had from a bone dry stone), NIB is technically insolvent with no means of staying afloat for too much longer. Without government taking on even more unsustainable national debt to fill the gaping NIB financial deficiency and thereby turning over control of our country to either Red China or the IMF as the only lenders of last resort, NIB is for all intents and purposes a sunk ship unable to meet its future obligations to the many thousands of Bahamians who have been paying into it thinking it would provide them with an important source of retirement income when they need it most. Oh well, it is what it is.

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bogart 2 months, 1 week ago

@ Mudda.....Management and Board of Directors have to be held responsible over Billions of dollars of nations money. If mismanaged or lost etc.

Currently the present Covid 19 crisis can have any invididual(s) breaking the rules of being caught by breaking Curfew rules under nation in disease prevention situation ....then same NIB persons who by their actions or lack of action put rest of nation in situation billions of nations dollars at risk bad investments, mismanagements etc., should be arrested and thrown in jail. Seems laws only apply to seems 90% of population at bottom.

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hrysippus 2 months, 1 week ago

Hey Banker; you got it totally right. I have been telling anyone who would listen about this unpalatable truth for decades now. As national characteristics we do not plan for the long term and we do not manage our financial resources well. The government is made up of representatives of we people so what is true for us is also true for the government. Chicken Little has it correct this time; the sky really is falling. God luck to us all.

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