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Rising levels of poverty and inefficiencies within the welfare system could be addressed through a $15 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), bringing in more accountability and greater access to funds for thousands of Bahamians.
The proposed program, Guardian Business has learned, would actually register and track families afflicted with poverty in an effort to break the cycle.
Fresh off a fact-finding mission in Jamaica, Loretta Butler-Turner, state minister for social services, said she has seen IDB's approach in motion.
"With the exasperation of persons coming to the ministry for assistance, it is clear we are not capturing in a timely fashion those individuals who would be most
vulnerable," she told Guardian Business. "Because of the large number of people in need, sometimes the most vulnerable would be obliterated by other persons."
The $15 million loan from the IDB, she added, would reformat a new program that places conditions on those receiving financial assistance. It will pay for the implementation of the program, train social workers and cover the immediate benefit payouts.
According to an IDB report published in November entitled "Strengthening Social Protection Programs in The Bahamas", resources exist for social services, but much of it is not reaching the people.
"Multiple small programs are administratively burdensome and increase possibilities for abuse," the report stated. "At the same time, gaps in coverage are present with only 16.7 percent of poor households in receipt of a safety net benefit."
The report went on to describe information and monitoring systems as "weak" and recommended the need for more computerization and record keeping. It pointed out that despite this "multi-tiered approval process, just 45 percent of food coupon benefits go to households in the poorest quintile and this is despite the fact that the program is ostensibly targeted to the indigent".
Butler-Turner acknowledged to Guardian Business that there are times when the aid becomes "discretionary". With the IDB's assistance, the government hopes to not just provide adequate benefits, but create employment and opportunities as well.
Together with the Ministry of Education and the Bahamas Department of Statistics, the joint venture intends to change the make-up of the workforce.
To illustrate her point, Butler-Turner said if a Bahamian mother was given a specific sum from the government, under the new system she would have to make sure her children met certain medical and educational requirements. The idea is to "zero in" on societal conditions and break "inter-generational dependency".
Births, benefits and expectations would be incorporated into a database system with improved record keeping, she explained.
In the end, the IDB loan is intended to improve standards of living and bolster the economy by lifting more families out of poverty and turning them into productive members of society.
"We do not want people to become welfare dependent for generations moving forward," she said.
The Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) held its third annual G-12 graduation on April 1st in the foyer of The Central Bank of The Bahamas. Eighteen students representing both public and private senior high schools received their certificates of completion.
The G-12 Program was launched by the Institute in 2008 and its primary objective is to equip a pool of young high school graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to secure entry level employment in the financial services industry.
Participating students follow a four-module syllabus which includes Business Calculations and Computer Skills, Economic Concepts and Applications, Financial Institutions and Ethical and Management Basics ...
The legislative agenda for the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) during the course of the year covered several pieces of industry legislation.
The Trustee Act Review Committee continued its efforts, having agreed the amendments it would wish to see introduced - and having also agreed that securing the services of David Brownbill, Q.C. to preserve a well-crafted Trustee Act was fundamental to our value proposition. BFSB is grateful for the contributions received from the Central Bank of The Bahamas and the Association of International Banks & Trust Companies towards costs of this project.
There are several substantive amendments and a few minor amendments. The legislative drafting pr ...
Mr. Speaker, this is the 33rd Budget Exercise in which I will have participated in this Parliament as an MP; the 14th as the Prime Minister and the 6th as Minister of Finance. Such extensive experience in this country’s fiscal affairs has enabled me to observe the many ebbs and flows of economic life in The Bahamas and the attempts by successive Ministers of Finance to grapple with them. I have learned many profound lessons and made a number of keen observations, none more so than these:
Every Bahamian can vividly recall the day when as a country we earned what is likely our most treasured Olympic Gold Medal. We remember watching our “Golden Girls” execute flawless baton passes. Picture Debbie Ferguson grabbing that baton from Pauline Davis Thompson and racing with all her might to the finish line bringing to this country what then was its first track and field Gold Medal.
The Ministry of Finance is being allocated $26.4 Million in the upcoming budget on the recurrent side; this represents a net decrease of some $528,352 compared to last year. The most significant adjustments in the ministry’s budget are as follow:
I rise on behalf of the Ministry of Health to make my contribution to this 2010/2011 budget presentation and thank the great constituency of Killarney for the opportunity to present this, my third health budget to this honorable chamber.
I wish to congratulate the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham, for his courage in presenting a Budget that is reflective of the realities of the national economic situation and that refused to defer difficult decisions for future generation of leaders.
Mr. Speaker, I am thankful to the fine people ofBamboo Town for the confidence that they have shown in me by electing me to this place.
Mr. Speaker, it is during times like these thatone is even more humbled to be among the few Bahamians to occupy this honourable place because one need not go far to hear Bahamians vocalize their expectation that somehow we in this place can and will find a way to emerge victorious from these economic challenges
commend the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister and his team for their leadership and competence in finalizing the budget.
I especially single out
The Prime Minister for continuing to engage every corner of The Bahamas as he seeks solutions to the challenges before us. I have never heard of a man having so many people and being so available. Contrary to the view expressed publicly. I know that he always seeks a solution which does not divide our society.
And the Minster of State for Finance for his strong belief in Bahamian entrepreneurial talent and his continued tangible support of their cause.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour once again for me to make a presentation to this Honourable House relative to the national budget.
The book of Ecclesiastes records that "there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven".