More than 700 Grenadians so far have benefitted from the COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Package that was announced by Government during an address to the nation by Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.
The assistance is aimed at providing some measure of relief from the impact of the current pandemic.
The Ministry of Finance has so far processed payroll support payments to benefit 538 employees and income support payments for 196 individuals.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell said, “It is commendable that within one month of the initial announcement of the stimulus package that Government has been able to start delivering on its promise of bringing relief to the people of this country. In this period of uncertainty, it is reassuring that even with Government’s reduced earnings, can help to ease the anxiety among citizens who are experiencing economic hardship due to the pandemic”.
He also commended the staff of the Ministry of Finance, specifically those within the Economic Support Secretariat for the many hours devoted to processing the applications and facilitating the start of payments within the projected timeframe. The PM acknowledged that there is still much work to be done and he encouraged potential beneficiaries to submit their applications.
To date, the newly established COVID-19 Economic Support Secretariat has received 1,000 applications for income support and 294 applications for payroll support. However, some of these applications have been redirected to other measures within the stimulus package such as unemployment benefits and the small business soft lending facility at the Grenada Development Bank (GDB).
Under the stimulus package announced by the prime minister on March 20, 2020, one of the measures is intended to avoid layoffs and loss of livelihoods in the tourism sector. The income support is intended for public bus operators, taxi drivers, tourist vendors and other such identified hospitality-based business persons, while payroll support is provided to hotels, restaurants, bars and small travel agents.
In addition to the payroll and income support payments, there are several other measures included in the government’s stimulus package. These include unemployment benefits initially estimated at $10 million, provided through the National Insurance Scheme (NIS); expansion of the small business soft lending facility at Grenada Development Bank and suspension of the monthly advance payment on Corporate Income Tax and installment payment of the Annual Stamp Tax for the period April to June 2020.