The following Op-Ed was released by Progressive Labour Party Senator Leslie Robinson Junior Minister of Economy & Labour and Public Works…
The 2022-2023 Annual Report of the Department of Financial Assistance (DFA), recently presented in House of Assembly by Minister of Economy and Labour Jason Hayward is a testament to the PLP Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability and the significant strides made in progressing financial assistance, social welfare, and economic stability.
Firstly, it is heartening to note the decrease in the average number of individuals requiring financial assistance from 2,226 in the previous year to 2,095. This reduction, particularly among the able-bodied unemployed and those with low earnings, is a positive indicator of the recovery of our job market post-pandemic. It reflects the resilience of our community and the success of our initiatives in creating more employment opportunities.
The report also highlights a commendable reduction in overall financial payouts, client complaints, and Review Board appeals. These reductions are not just numbers; they represent the enhanced efficiency of our systems, the satisfaction of our citizens, and the effectiveness of our policies. They signify a step towards a more robust and responsive social welfare system, addressing the needs of our people while ensuring fiscal responsibility.
A closer look at the expenditure reveals the PLP Government’s priorities – supporting the elderly, ensuring food security, providing access to healthcare, and aiding families with child day care allowances. The decrease in total expenditure in these areas, without compromising the quality of support, showcases the PLP’s commitment to fiscal prudence and resource optimization.
The report also sheds light on the ongoing efforts to uphold the integrity of our financial assistance programs. With a robust risk management framework and vigilant transaction monitoring, we are ensuring compliance and addressing discrepancies. The ongoing investigations and referrals to the Attorney General Chambers underline our zero-tolerance policy towards any abuse of the system.
Furthermore, the amendments to the Financial Assistance Regulations 2004 reflect our empathetic approach towards those in need. The provision allowing recipients who have reached their seven-year term to continue receiving essential awards is a manifestation of our enduring support for the vulnerable. The upcoming amendments aimed at increasing allowances and benefits underscore our unwavering commitment to enhancing the standard of living for those in need.
The DFA Annual Report 2022-2023 is not just a document; it is a narrative of progress, a story of resilience, and a promise of a better future. It reflects the PLP’s commitment to social welfare and Economic stability. As we continue to chart a new course, the PLP remains focused on transforming and uplifting those in need, ensuring that every citizen has the opportunity to thrive.
Thank you for your trust and support. Together, we are building a stronger, more inclusive Bermuda.