Vulnerable groups to benefit from Government’s Supplementary Budget Statement

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(BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)

From: Bahamas Information Services

The Government’s Supplementary Budget Statement prioritizes vulnerable groups in society including pensioners and persons on the COVID-19 unemployment assistance program. In the House of Assembly, Wednesday, October 27, 2021 the Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, stated that the 2021-2022 Statement undertakes the following: reprioritizes unnecessary budgeted expenditures to areas where they are most needed; restores the fiscal health of the country over the medium term and ensures that government continues to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in society.

Prime Minister Davis said this Christmas will not be the same for persons currently receiving $100 per week from the COVID-19 program. He advised that such individuals will be the beneficiaries of a $500 lump sum payment.

“There is no way to alleviate entirely the suffering you have experienced over the past 18 months, but the hope is that this payment can mark the beginning of a new, more hopeful time for you,” said the Prime Minister. “While the former administration’s Food Distribution Task Force and unemployment assistance administered by the National Insurance Board were efforts in the right direction, they have simply not done enough to provide sufficient, tangible relief to suffering families. More than 17,000 Bahamians are currently receiving COVID-19 unemployment benefit assistance administered by the National Insurance Board.”

Mr. Davis also informed Parliamentarians that payments to public service pensioners will be increased effective December 1, 2021 as follows:

  • The 742 persons receiving less than $500 per month in monthly pension will receive an increase of $100;

  • The 2,012 persons receiving more than $500 but less than $1000 in monthly pension will receive a monthly increase of $75;

  • The 4,432 persons receiving a monthly pension of greater than $1,000 will receive a monthly adjustment of $50.

“Let me remind this Honourable House that it is the public service pensioners who long kept our country running. This group includes retired teachers, nurses, doctors, police officers, corrections officers, and retired clerical and administrative staff. These pensioners receive no cost-of-living adjustments and many of them have a combined income of less than $500 per month,” said Prime Minister Davis.

“It is therefore not surprising that these individuals have suffered greatly doing the economic downturn. On behalf of a grateful nation, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you for your service. Our gratitude will be reflected by an increase in public service pensions; a sliding scale will be used to make sure the increase correlates with the need. I want to be clear: the intent of the public service pension increase is to support those in need. This list does not include pensions for former politicians or senators, nor does it include pensions for former judges or holders of the office of Governor General or their surviving spouses,” he said.