Govt wants to speed up benefits to unemployed

The government wants hotel owners to advance unemployment benefits to laid off workers impacted by the tourism shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said in a national address last night.

“Hotel companies will be reimbursed by the government,” Minnis said.

Over the weekend, several major resorts announced the layoff of employees amid a worsening global crisis.

Last night, Minnis said, “The National Insurance Board will be encouraged to engage hotel owners about the possibility of advancing NIB unemployment benefits on behalf of the government.

“This would reduce the numbers having to physically go to NIB to collect payments.”

The prime minister said the government intends to “immediately enter” into discussions with the Central Bank and the banking sector “as to how they may assist Bahamians affected by COVID-19”.

“We will let you know the outcome of these discussions,” he promised.

“I also wish to re-emphasize what the minister of finance stated last week. The banks have reiterated their commitment to helping their clients through challenging times.

“They have advised that if individuals are experiencing financial difficulties during this period, that they should contact their banks to understand the options that are available to them, such as payment deferrals, credit limit increases, or other measures to offer temporary relief.

“As this issue progresses, the banks have stated their intent to offer more tailored products and services to persons who financially are negatively impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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