Workers Education Programme Receives Increase in 2009/2010 Budget

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butlerloretta<<< Hon. Loretta Butler-Turner

NASSAU, The Bahamas – A “most noteworthy and significant feature” of the 2009/2010 Budget is the proposed increase for Contribution to Workers Education which goes from $5,000 to $250,000, Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Development the Hon. Loretta Butler-Turner said.

During debate in the House of Assembly on the Government’s $1.7 billion national budget on June 15, she explained that the funds will be used to provide specific training to unemployed persons to assist them in acquiring new skills.

Mrs. Turner said, “The details of the programme are being developed in conjunction with key partners which will include the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Training Institute and the College of The Bahamas.

“The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, the two union umbrella groups, and the Bahamas Employers Confederation will also be partners in this venture.”

Although a small reduction is proposed to the budgetary allocation for the Department of Labour, this will not negatively impact the level of services provided to the public, she advised.

The proposed allocations for the Ministry of Labour and Social Development shows an increase of $6,616,737 as a result of areas placed under the Ministry following reallocation of portfolios.

These include the Consumer Welfare Unit, Community Affairs, Bureau of Women’s Affairs, the Department of Rehabilitative Welfare Services and Urban Renewal.

A number of grants to charitable organisations are also provided for. They include the Bahamas Red Cross, the Ranfuly Home for Children, and the Crisis Centre.

The current level of contribution to these organisations has been retained as also is the case with small one-time grants to community based organisations.

The Bureau of Women’s Affairs receives an increase from $50,000 to $80,000; and the Community Affairs Division, an increase of $10,000 to $60,000.

Additionally, a line item has been included for the Consumer Welfare Unit with proposed funding of $80,000 for operational expenses for New Providence and Grand Bahama.

However, there is a small decrease in the proposed allocation for the Residential Care Establishment Authority.

But, having regard for the level of expenditure during this fiscal period, the Ministry is satisfied that the proposed allocation is adequate for the upcoming fiscal year, Mrs. Butler-Turner said. 

  • The Workers Education program is a much needed one. This infusion of money by the government and the inclusion of the other key partners should provide yet another stimulus to help our country get back on track. Let’s hope the Unions will take up the project and make it their own in the future. Retraining, for persons who lose their jobs is something that a caring Union should have included in their responsibilities a long time ago.