Categorized | National News


Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday sat among several Caribbean leaders attending the IMF/World Bank and IDB conference in Washington D.C. to address the issue of building resilience to disasters and climate change in the region. 

In his address, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said, like many other Caribbean countries, disasters in the Bahamas can have a large, direct impact on economic conditions through reduced productivity and increased national debt due to reconstruction costs.”

He added, “for example, as a result of Hurricane Mathew in 2017, The Bahamas Government initially borrowed $150 million and made allocations for capital works, and transfers and subsidies for relief and reconstruction.

“This widened the fiscal deficit from an estimated 1.0 per cent of GDP in 2016/17 before Hurricane Matthew to 1.9 per cent of GDP after Matthew. This represented an $81 million increase in the deficit after the hurricane.”, he said. 

The Prime Minister noted that in post-disaster and relief recovery

 the resources and means should be at our disposal to finance direct contingent liabilities efficiently. 

This, he said, will also enable a country to provide additional aid to small businesses and low-income farmers, who are disproportionally impacted by disasters.

He said, “there is no single ideal or universally applicable solution for homeowner’s disaster insurance. Each country must find and adapt a model that best fits its exposures, existing insurance market infrastructure, institutional set-up and political acceptability.”

He added, “The solutions in place in different countries range from comprehensive compulsory natural disaster covers offered by government-sponsored insurance entities to privately organized voluntary disaster insurance products.

“However, pooling of risks at the regional level may be the solution to overcome any shortcoming in any country. We are cognizant that ex ante instruments are the most effective and efficient means of governments practicing self-insurance.”, he said.  

Written by Jones Bahamas

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