Workers in the private sector are to be offered a chance to invest in the country’s recovery but at a lower interest rate than the BOSS bond scheme for civil servants, the Prime Minister said today.
She also announced a low-cost housing programme for those public workers who earn below the threshold for converting part of their paycheque into bonds.
For private sector workers, a Pandemic Solidarity Fund is to be used to shore up the National Insurance Scheme’s finances, she revealed at a meeting with civil servants on the BOSS – the Barbados Optional Saving Scheme at the Wildey Gymnasium.
The announcement came in response to a question from a public servant who queried why the proposed Government bonds were not being offered to the wider public.
Last Thursday, Mottley revealed that the NIS had so far received 41,836 jobless benefit claims and had paid out $26.4 million to 23,735 people.
The PM said: “What you are getting from the Government of Barbados is a fixed rate bond, so it is five per cent fixed for the life of the bond. People ask why not the whole country, why we aren’t making it available to the whole country.
“Other things and other instruments will come to be made available and maybe not even at the same level as this because really and truly an employer treats employees better than they treat anyone else for the most part”
With the World Health Organization (WHO) having warned against a second wave of COVID-19 infections, there was a need for a similar initiative from Government, she added.
“So we may have to go back to the market with a Pandemic Solidarity Bond for the NIS in the future and in that one that would be more open to the whole public.
“Its terms and conditions would be similar, it may not be the five per cent, it maybe four or four and a quarter [per cent] or whatever, but the point is that there is going to be another opportunity beyond this for those who are non-public servants.”
In a further announcement, the Prime Minister also disclosed a separate programme for public servants earning less than $3,000 monthly, when asked why they were not being asked to take part in the BOSS.
She said a housing programme for low-income earners would soon be launched and those workers would be targeted and given a chance to own their own homes.
Mottley said: “I don’t know how to look at a police constable who may be earning $2,800 a month, but people want to sell them land at $25 a square foot.
“So that one of the ways that we can increase capital works is by getting the housing programme going and the best way to get the housing programme going is to have people to need to buy houses or to have houses built.
“If people under $36,000 want to participate I think we have said that we will accommodate them, but we are conscious that that is the category of person for the most part that we need to enfranchise first in another way in this country and that is by making them homeowners in Barbados.”
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