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‘Difficult decisions’ must be made, warns Minnis

FORMER Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

FORMER Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

By LETRE SWEETING

lsweeting@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday warned that the Davis administration will have to make some difficult decisions with the Bahamian public in mind, just as he did during the pandemic two years ago with regard to the depleted state of the NIB fund.

Dr Minnis’ comments followed those of Myles Laroda, minister of state with responsibility for the NIB, who on Wednesday said that the government’s decision regarding the fund will need to take place by next year.

 He added that the government will continue to ensure the fund’s sustainability through cutting back on costs, raising revenue or doing both.

 Dr Minnis said one thing the Davis administration has to consider is paying more attention to the poor and middle class and make those difficult decisions with regard to easing inflation for Bahamians moving forward.

 “When we were hit with COVID, first and foremost, for us, was life. We always felt that if you save lives, people can always rebuild. We cannot create life and whatever was necessary, we would have done to ensure that the Bahamians survived, so that our country and generations can survive and we can always rebuild our country,” Dr Minnis said.

 “I’ve said that some very very difficult decisions have to be made. And I didn’t specifically say what decisions, but there are decisions that have to be made and decisions with modification and without necessarily compromising the poor or the middle class. Whatever you do, you must always think of that group, do not cause even greater hardship, especially on the middle class, because when you do that, poverty increases. Their goal should really be to try and reduce poverty, you cannot eradicate it, but you can reduce it,” he said.

 Though Dr Minnis declined to give any solutions to the issue at this time, he said it is the duty of those elected to make the difficult decision necessary to support the public, even if at the cost of an election.

 “There are lots of things one has to look at. I won’t give a solution to that problem at this point in time. I want to see what the government does. You are elected to make decisions, to make difficult decisions and you make decisions that are in the best interest of the country. Not the best interest of yourself,” Dr Minnis said.

 “Remember, I’ve said before and I’ve gotten beaten. I’ve always said I prefer to lose an election than to lose a country. That’s my view and that won’t change. Country will always be first to me,” the former prime minister said.

 On Wednesday, Mr Laroda told reporters when asked for an update on the agency’s financial position before a Cabinet meeting: “The fund is no better, or no worse than the last time we spoke.”

“The government is going to have to make a decision in the upcoming year as to what its position is going to be as we move forward as it relates to the increase. I think the fund is on pace to lose around $70m plus this year, that’s about $6m a month,” Mr Laroda said at the time.

 “And in the upcoming year, even though there’s no projected improvement in revenues, it’s still not gonna make up that black hole so notwithstanding the economy just opening up and businesses may be doing a bit better, there is still tough times in our community, but that decision will have to be made and it’s being considered.

 “We just don’t have a date yet for informing the public on what the decision is going to be.”

 The Tribune exclusively reported in April that the 11th actuarial review of the National Insurance Board predicted the fund could be depleted by 2028.

 That report had reduced the fund’s potential depletion timeline by one year, as the 10th review had made a prediction of 2029.

 It also recommended NIB to increase the contribution rate by two percent and continue increases every two years until 2036.

Comments

LastManStanding 1 year, 5 months ago

Though Dr Minnis declined to give any solutions to the issue at this time

Lol.

birdiestrachan 1 year, 5 months ago

The masterful liar is at it again it seems his cabinet only met to decided what they could do to hurt poor people increase VAT 60 % and take VAT of items such as flour and cooking oil to benefit bakeries and hotels , and then they said !what good boys are we !

ted4bz 1 year, 5 months ago

Din't this idiot destroyed himself already?

bahamianson 1 year, 5 months ago

Difficult decisions must always be made in this country. Unfortunately, the local class , excluding the politicians, always bare the brunt of these so called Difficult decisions. Unfortunately, these decisions always include increasing some tax for possible poor service that all residents do not have access to.

javiebenz 1 year, 5 months ago

Get this piece of shit out of here, Covid failed us all by not carrying his azz.

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