COVID-19 benefits to be extended even as revenue falls

By Demion McTair. Updated 2:43 a.m., Monday, July 13, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – Economic support given to persons who lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic could be extended beyond the initial three-months support aimed at.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said on WEFM’s Issue at Hand on Sunday, July 12, that “It looks as though we’d have to extend the benefits because we are not yet back to normalcy, but it’s a challenging one but we have to do so”.

I’ve been talking with the minister of finance, I was talking to Camillo and the Director General of Finance and Planning. I’ve also been talking to the Director of the NIS. So, we have to do an extension,” the prime minister says.

He said there are several benefits, including that for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that those assisted by the government, include some 2,300 vendors.

Minibus operators, water taxi operators, pensioners, students overseas, persons in the culture and creative arts, and other categories of persons have received assistance, even while the government continues to pay salaries every month, as the pandemic battles the economy.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dr. Gonsalves said that government revenue for the month of June 2020, decreased by 8-percent over the corresponding period last year.

Decreases in revenue were also felt in May 2020.

The prime minister says that even though the economic situation felt in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not to the same extent as other countries, hardships are still being felt in the country due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.

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