The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will continue to provide temporary unemployment benefits and payouts to persons in the hospitality sector and to seafarers.
Speaking on radio on January 10, the Prime Minister disclosed that some EC$8.4 million had already been paid out to 4,309 recipients, since the programme commenced in April 2020 and up to December 26, 2020.
Of this amount, the National Insurance Services (NIS) paid out some EC$2.4 million with the government providing just over $6 million.
Responding to a concern expressed by Anthony Regisford, Executive Director of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce, that assistance to those in the hospitality and seafarers had expired on December 31, 2020, the prime Minister responded, “So, it’s a matter of refreshing those arrangements and tweaking them.”
An extension until March 2021 means that a further EC$2.4 million will be required, Dr. Gonsalves said.
In addition, there has to be support for the PRYME programme and assistance for farmers and fisherfolk in 2012.
But even as he spoke of these commitments, PM Gonsalves highlighted the challenge of avoiding a situation of collecting less revenues than what is to be expended, thereby creating a deficit on the current account.
There was some hope, though, with assistance being sort through institutions like the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).