Business leaders commend the government on stimulus packageSunday, March 29, 2020
KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Government is being commended by business leaders for taking “decisive action” in providing the $25 billion stimulus, which includes a $10 billion contingency provision to address prevailing and potential fallouts from the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The provision has been earmarked to finance grants to employees, businesses, and vulnerable persons, among others who have been or are likely to be adversely impacted by the virus, for which there are 30 confirmed cases and one death since the outbreak in Jamaica.
Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF) president, David Wan, says that the Government's gesture “demonstrates that the authorities are thinking two steps ahead of everything.”
He says that against the background of announced closures and scaling down of business operations, the provision is “very crucial” and “well thought-out.”
“This is so because you want to get assistance to those who are most vulnerable… those at the lower end of the wage scale, who are least likely to have any meaningful resources available to survive this period,” the JEF President argues.
While acknowledging that “more may need to be done,” consequent on the potential wide-ranging ripple effect the virus could have on many industries, Mr Wan says the move by the Government to initiate the intervention “is quite good.”
Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) president, Hugh Johnson, described the intervention as “a good move.”
Meanwhile, both business leaders believe that Jamaica is in a stronger position economically, to substantially deal with the COVID-19 and recover from the resulting impact.
They say that the extent of resources at Jamaica's disposal, coupled with the fiscal stimulus, should provide an ample buffer in the near term, at minimum, against the pandemic, without the need for external assistance.
The accumulated resources, inclusive of Net International Reserves (NIR) at the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ), totalling some US$3.1billion, results from the Government's steadfast ongoing implementation of the country's Economic Reform Programme (ERP) that has yielded significant macro-economic improvements for the country.
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