PR – Close to 9,000 Grenadians will benefit from another COVID-19 economic stimulus package that will soon be implemented by the Government.
Prime Minister, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell disclosed during his national address on Thursday that the package is worth $36 million. In addition to the direct beneficiaries, Government expects another 10,000 persons to benefit indirectly.
The new package of economic support will be rolled out in September.
The package will be funded by the Government of Grenada in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, under the Inter-American Development Bank/Caribbean Development Bank Global Loan Programme, which is designed to build health, social and economic resilience in OECS member states.
Dr. Mitchell disclosed that, “The stimulus package will target vulnerable persons, who are most impacted by the pandemic, and will include, but not limited to, persons in the cultural sector whose livelihood depends almost exclusively on cultural activities, farmers, agro-processors, caterers, operators of entertainment centres, former cruise ship workers, taxi drivers, water taxi operators, tourist vendors, bus operators, former hotel employees, and LIAT workers.”
He added, “Beneficiaries will receive support ranging from one-off payments to monthly transfers for up to six months, based on the category of eligibility.”
According to the Prime Minister, Government was very diligent in designing the stimulus package and engaged in broad-based consultation with stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as the CDB, to ensure the widest possible reach for the stimulus support package.
The Ministry of Finance will provide further details of the package and the categories of beneficiaries in the coming weeks.
In addition to this direct support for workers seriously affected by the pandemic, Government is also taking steps to stimulate job creation and economic activity through several initiatives designed to support the expansion of existing micro, small and medium enterprises and the creation of new ones.
Dr. Mitchell said, “More than $12 million is currently available for lending on extremely concessional terms and conditions. Additionally, Government will make available $2 million for small hoteliers and $5 million for small businesses in other sectors, through the COVID-19 Support Fund Facility at the Grenada Development Bank. Eligible businesses will qualify for loans between $40,000 and $300,000.”
The Prime Minister described this facility as a lifeline for the next three years, that will help eligible businesses stay afloat and or expand, or encourage startups.
Additionally, he said, “Government will also inject an additional $5 million into the Small Business Development Fund to support the development of micro enterprises. These businesses can qualify for loans of up to $40,000. Both lines of credit at the Grenada Development Bank, offer an attractive interest rate of 1%, with a grace period of up to three years. The loans for micro enterprises are repayable over 10 years, while the repayment period for the larger loans is 12 years.”
There’s a further incentive for loan recipients in both categories as they can benefit from an additional $5,000 in grant support to further bolster business operations.
Last year, shortly after the start of the pandemic, Government announced a significant economic stimulus package comprising of payroll and income support among other measures, which benefited more than 7,000 Grenadians.