Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said in a national address on Sunday that unemployment is expected to soar to a staggering 30 percent in the near term as 25,000 people have either been laid off or have lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minnis also said that government revenue has plummeted by 50 percent.
“Based on applications to NIB, more than 25,000 people have been laid off or have lost their income to date,” he said.
“This number will likely increase. The initial numbers from the treasury indicate that the tax revenues for April were just about one half of what was collected in April, 2019.
“Our unemployment rate in the near term will likely exceed an unprecedented and extraordinary 30 percent. The entire global economy is in free fall and in unchartered territory.”
Acting Director of Labor John Pinder made a similar projection last month.
The unemployment rate stood at 10.7 percent in December 2019, according to the Department of Statistics.
On March 20, Minnis ordered that all businesses suspend operations, with limited exceptions. The move, aimed at limited the spread of COVID-19, resulted in widespread lay-offs.
During his national address, the prime minister noted that even the most powerful and developed countries in the world have entered into deep recession with very high unemployment and the loss of scores of businesses, especially in service industries like tourism, hospitality and entertainment.