KINGSTON, Jamaica - Grants totalling approximately $90 million have been dispatched for payment to 3,600 public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators under the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, announced that the allocations have been sent to LASCO Financial Services Limited, through which the payments will be disbursed.
The Finance Minister advised that once LASCO gets the payment details, notification texts will be sent to the beneficiaries, who will receive 25,000 each.
“I’m expecting it to happen this week, if not [by] Monday. The taxi [and PPV] operators, the 3,600 of them, can [then] go to their LASCO Financial outlet and collect their $25,000,” Clarke said in a release on Thursday.
He was speaking during Thursday’s launch of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) $700-million entertainment and transport loan facilities for stakeholders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, at AC Marriott Kingston Hotel.
Clarke said that the Government has revised the date by which applicants must have a valid road licence from April 30 to August 31, to enable more transport operators to access the provision. He shared that when the facility was launched, there was a requirement for qualified applicants to have a valid Transport Authority road licence issued no later than April 30.
“Now, there are some taxi operators who paid up a little bit after April 30 or, in some instances, they actually went in before. But when they got the printout of their licence, the date [was] in May, due to no fault of their own,” he explained. “For that reason, a policy change has been made to say if you have your licence paid up by August 31 of this year… you will also qualify for this $25,000 transport grant.”
“We expect this to open up the opportunity to thousands more taxi, PPV licensees and contract carriage operators. I want to encourage – as I know [Transport and Mining] Minister [Audley] Shaw has been doing – all contract carriage operators, all taxi operators, to avail yourselves of this opportunity. It has been budgeted for, it has been provided for, and we don’t want to take the money back to the Consolidated Fund,” he said.
Minister Clarke is inviting transport operators who have not yet applied, to visit the CARE website on the Finance Ministry’s platform and fill out the application form as “there’s a $25,000 grant available to all taxi and PPV operators whose licences [are] printed and dated prior to August 31”.
“It will take you one minute to fill out the form. Once you have filled out your details – name, taxpayer registration number (TRN), and your licence number from the Transport Authority, you will be eligible for a $25,000 grant from the Government of Jamaica,” he noted.