The National Insurance Board (NIB) has started the process of identifying which of its foreign assets it will offload as a part of acute austerity measures being taken to safeguard foreign reserves.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas requested that NIB liquidate some of its external investments and bring the proceeds back onshore as one of the measures toward protecting and increasing reserve levels, amid the periling economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NIB Director Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle said the board is now determining how it can best meet that mandate without putting a strain on the fund’s resources.
“In this time, we look at what’s necessary for liquidity as well and some of our U.S. portfolio are some of our lowest yielding in terms of interest rates and earning capacity. So we have looked at a strategy of how we answer that mandate in a way that is the best approach for the National Insurance Board,” she said.
“And so we’re working with the Central Bank in order to do so in an orderly manner. We’ve begun the process of looking at our lowest yielding assets and are bringing those back in, which helps with our liquidity. We use that as funding to pay unemployment.”
The National Insurance Board’s foreign investments have been viewed in principle as an extended support for the foreign reserves.
At the end of 2019, external reserve balances were up by 46.7 percent to settle at $1.7 billion.