Financial grants for informal sector

Business

Financial grants for informal sector

BY ABBION ROBINSON
Business reporter
robinsona@jamaicaobserver

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

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Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke says members of the informal sector stand to benefit from financial grants to cushion the impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This includes bar operators, hairdressers, taxi operators, barbers, and market vendors.

“We recognised that there are people in Jamaica that are informally employed… we are working on a programme for this broad group. We have reserved a sum that we will be transferring to address this segment — a sum that we can supplement with reallocation of expenditure,” the minister said.

He was speaking at the Government's COVID-19 digital town hall for workers and small businesses.

“The Government is going to give a grant to individuals that they're not [oridnarily] entitled to or have earned, but a grant due to the circumstances,” he continued.

Clarke pointed out that while the amount to be paid has not yet been determined, the funds will be offered as support.

He added that the Government will be working with the respective registration authority for verifications for each category of worker.

In relation to market vendors, Clarke said that those who are “reasonably” up to date with payment of their fees to their municipalities will be able to apply for the grant. In the case where they can provide details on their trade and other identifying information to the Government for verification, resulting in a positive verification, then a payment will be prepared.

In the interim, Clarke said the Government will be designing an intervention approach to assist licensed bar operators, hairdressers, and barbers.

The minister reiterated that an initiative led by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries will make available an expenditure reallocation of $200 million to small farmers.

He added that the Government is also considering whether to use some of the funds to purchase crops that have been harvested for the tourism sector but can't be sold.


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