Gov't to launch CARE programme website tomorrowWednesday, April 08, 2020
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Individuals and businesses in Jamaica will be able to begin applying under the COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme for benefits when the website goes live online Thursday.
The programme is being launched by the Government through the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, to offer financial assistance through grants and relief packages across various sectors.
“The systems to deliver targeted intervention of this scale do not exist and had to be built from scratch. A multi-disciplinary team from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, the Accountant General's Department, Tax Administration Jamaica and eGov Jamaica Limited have been working around the clock to quickly build the required infrastructure. Our goal is for the online platform to be easy to use,” said Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke.
The ministry said seven components of the relief programme that are designed to reach the most affected sectors will be open for application online. These include the COVID-19 General Grant, which is aimed at supporting people who operate businesses registered either with a Municipal Authority, the Transport Authority or the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).
The ministry added that some components have a specific aim to support the operations of registered businesses in the tourism industry, namely the Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) and the Tourism Grant which can also be applied for on the WECARE website (www.wecare.gov.jm).
Other programmes to be facilitated by online applications include Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash), which will aid individuals who have been permanently or temporarily laid off on or after March 10; the COVID-19 Small Business Grant, which will support businesses in the Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector with sales of $50 million or less, and the COVID-19 Compassionate Grant, which is expected to assist the largest number of Jamaica-based individuals, including the informally employed, unemployed and tertiary students.
The ministry said applications open on April 9 and will close by June 30.
Beneficiaries are expected to receive their pay-outs within 30 days after application and confirmation that all eligibility requirements are met. The grant value will be paid directly to the applicant's bank account or to a remittance agency, as is applicable for the Compassionate Grant.
The ministry noted that funds will also be allocated to different agencies to boost existing programmes, including Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) where its beneficiaries will receive additional support through the COVID-19 PATH Grant whereas Student Loan Bureau (SLB) borrowers will be provided with a three month deferral of loan principal and interest payments.
The Poor Relief Fund, which targets the most vulnerable Jamaicans such as the homeless, elderly and the infirmed; the Constituency Development Fund (CDF); and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries will also receive funds to support their respective sectors and will decide internally how to use the allocated funds, the ministry said.
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