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GOVT SILENT ON NIB INCREASE IN BUDGET – Sands: Administration ‘is dodging the issue’ over state of fund

Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis and FNM Chairman Dr Duane Sands.

Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis and FNM Chairman Dr Duane Sands.

By LETRE SWEETING

Tribune Staff Reporter

lsweeting@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis is expected to discuss fiscal stability measures when he delivers his budget communication today – but officials have been mum on whether he will announce an increase in National Insurance Board contribution rates.


The Davis administration faces pressure to help save the fund, which is projected to be depleted by 2028. Whether Mr Davis announces a change in contribution rates while delivering the most anticipated House of Assembly communication of the year is among the matters observers will be watching today.


State Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Myles Laroda, who is responsible for NIB, has repeatedly warned of the fund’s dire state.
In April, he told Progressive Liberal Party supporters at a meeting that the fund is “basically running on fumes” and can only be stabilised when the contribution rate is increased by 1.5 per cent for the third or fourth time in the future.


Mr Laroda said that while extending the retirement age, cutting benefits, or combining these two options have been considered solutions, only increasing contribution rates will address the problem.

Yesterday, Free National Movement Chairman Dr Duane Sands accused the administration of dodging the NIB issue.

“We have heard the Minister of State play good cop and the Prime Minister play bad cop, and they have played this game with the Bahamian people now going on two years,” he said. “I suspect they’re gonna continue to play the game. I don’t expect that we are going to hear much in terms of the specifics of dealing with the structural challenges facing the economy.”


The OPM, meanwhile, said Mr Davis’ speech today would be “focused on areas vital to national development”.


“The budget is poised to address salient issues while fostering economic growth and resilience,” the OPM said in a statement. “It is designed to make strides in national security, to bolster economic stability, and to enhance social welfare.


“Our national security focus reiterates our commitment to the safety of Bahamians and our communities. We believe in building a nation where everyone feels secure, law and order prevail, and our borders are protected. We will continue strengthening our institutions, policies, and practices to foster a secure environment conducive to economic growth.


“The economic security of our nation is equally critical. We aim to create an environment where businesses can thrive and employment opportunities are within reach of every Bahamian. Our initiatives are designed to drive sustainable economic growth, encourage foreign investments, and promote Bahamian ownership and entrepreneurship in our economy. This budget underscores our ongoing commitment to fiscal stability and economic dignity for all Bahamians.”

The OPM said the administration is committed to reducing inflation’s impact, increasing resilience to climate change and improving food security.

“This is a pivotal moment for our nation,” the statement said. “We understand the challenges we face, but we also see the opportunities ahead. Our focus is on the future, a future where we not only recover from the trials we’ve faced but also forge ahead towards greater security and progress. As we move forward, we are confident that we can build a more prosperous and resilient Bahamas together.”

Comments

KapunkleUp 1 year, 1 month ago

It's amazing how no politician (FNM or PLP) ever brings up all the IOUs NIB has when discussing NIB's finances.

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