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DPM: $300M in funding to facilitate proposed recovery fund

The government anticipates it will take in roughly $300 million to facilitate the proposed Bahamas National Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest revealed yesterday.

The fund, which Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced on Sunday, would be an independent and non-political body to help fund home and building repairs.

While the majority of the money to facilitate the fund would likely be obtained through loans, the prime minister has said the government would provide the initial funds.

“However, this private independent trust will be responsible for collecting and distributing funds for recovery efforts to ensure transparency and full accountability,” the prime minister said during a press briefing on Sunday.

This announcement comes as parliamentarians prepare to debate the Disaster Reconstruction Authority Bill, 2019, which provides for the establishment of a body corporate to be known as The Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority, that would, among other things, have the power to borrow on behalf of recovery and reconstruction efforts.

“The power of the authority to borrow shall be exercisable only with the approval of the minister, in consultation with the minister of finance, as the amount, the sources of the borrowing and the terms on which the borrowing may be effected,” the bill states.

In addition to borrowed money, the authority would get funds and resources from parliamentary allocations, grants, covenants, donations and other receipts from agencies including national and international bodies.

The authority would be mandated to facilitate the reconstruction and restoration of impacted areas in a disaster zone.

The bill stipulates that the authority would collaborate with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), however, where a donation is given for both relief and reconstruction, the relief portion would go to NEMA and the reconstruction portion to the authority in the proportion donated by the donor.

The bill also provides for remuneration for the chairman and other members of the board by way of honorarium, salary or fees and allowances that would not exceed 20 percent of the annual budget of the authority.

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