PR – More than 7,000 Grenadians have benefitted thus far from Government’s economic stimulus package which offers payroll support to businesses, income support to self-employed persons and an unemployment benefit among other measures.
Statistics from the COVID-19 Economic Support Secretariat show that the beneficiaries include 664 bus operators and close to 500 persons involved in various aspects of tourism including taxi and tour operators and vendors. Payroll support has been provided for 137 businesses, which collectively employ more than 3,000 workers.
Additionally, as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, explained in his recent national address, Government is “continuously evaluating the categories of persons eligible to benefit and have made some adjustments.” Since the initial announcement of the stimulus package, several categories including hairdressers, barbers and market vendors have been included among the beneficiaries.
To date, 277 market vendors, hairdressers and barbers, 250 laid-off Royalton workers and 120 Aviation Services of Grenada employees have been added to the list of beneficiaries.
The Government has also received additional requests for consideration and has committed to exploring the possibility of honouring these requests.
Another measure provided for in the stimulus package is an unemployment benefit, paid by the National Insurance Scheme. So far, close to 2,700 Grenadians have received this benefit.
When it was first announced, the stimulus package covered a three-month period. With the pandemic continuing to impact the closure of borders and restrict economic activity in some sectors, the Prime Minister has indicated that Government is considering a three-month extension of the support granted to hotel workers.
However, while Government is sympathetic to the plight of workers dealing with reduced income and loss of jobs, Government itself, is limited by the significant decline in revenue.
Overall, Government has expended more than $17 million on the various measures in the stimulus package, including income and payroll support, reduction in electricity bills for consumers and grants to the Grenada Development Bank to support the Small Business Development Fund and the Small Hoteliers Business Fund, which offer concessionary loans to help stimulate business activity.
The COVID-19 Economic Support Secretariat, established specifically to implement and coordinate the measures included in the stimulus package, continues to process and verify applications.