STATEMENT| Today, I would like to address the situation facing the National Insurance Board (NIB).
Firstly, let me assure all Bahamians that while we acknowledge the need for adjustments, no NIB rate increase will occur during the new fiscal year. Instead, the rate increase will be introduced next year, on the first of July 2024.
The global inflation crisis has been a significant strain on household finances for many Bahamians, an we do not wish to impose any additional burden. We hope that a full year’s advance notice will allow all impacted the time to plan to accommodate the increase.
The challenges the NIB faces are not unique to our country; indeed, they are being experienced by social security systems around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic, changing demographics, and the realities reflected in actuarial tables have forced us, like many others, to rethink how we operate.
It is important that Bahamians know that we will use the year to come to implement significant reform at NIB. We intend to make our system more efficient and more user-friendly. Bahamians deserve a simple and transparent process. We will continue to scrutinize claims to prevent fraudulent activities and ensure that those who contribute are the ones who benefit.
The rate increase beginning in July 2024 will therefore be accompanied by enhancements to NIB’s service delivery, accountability, compliance efforts, and sustainability. Our goal is not merely to ensure the longevity of the NIB but to create a system that truly serves its purpose: to support Bahamians when they need it most.
To those who worry that a delay will make the eventual increase larger than it otherwise would have been, we can assure you that will not be the case.
We are all navigating these challenging times together, and it is in this spirit that we are striving to balance short and long-term needs of Bahamian families. The changes ahead will secure a promising and resilient future for the NIB.