Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Hon. Timothy Harris

By Loshaun Dixon

More than 3000 people have benefitted by receiving three payments from the second stimulus package, according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Timothy Harris.

The second stimulus programme, which was announced in July by PM Harris, is designed to help the less fortunate better cope with the financial hardship caused by COVID-19, and to further stimulate the Federation’s economy.

Under this initiative, persons who remain unemployed since March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will be provided $1,000 per month, for three months. The stimulus measures also included a fuel subsidy of $400 per month to passenger bus operators for a period of three months and a stipend for households with children living with disabilities.

Dr Harris said that the third round of payments was made this week under the second stimulus That features the Income Support Program, Fuel Subsidy Program and Disability Support program.

“A third round of payments under this program was made. The sum, in this case, was $2.6M which were paid out yesterday (Monday). Thus far, a total of 2973 persons have benefited from this program which has so far recorded a total payment of over the last three months of $7.7M since its launch.

The PM revealed that under the fuel subsidy, more than $100,000 has been paid to bus drivers.

“A total of 118 individuals have submitted applications to the ministry as of October 15… The total payout to date is $129,800.

Dr Harris said that under the disability support program, the Treasury has made the third round of payments to 155 applicants.

“The total payout to date is $248,000. $233,000 has been paid directly to individual applicants and a further $15,000 was paid to Ade’s place.”

Among other measures of the second stimulus are:
1. The waiving of commercial rent for 6 months (July to December 2021) for small businesses which lease space from the Government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Transport – these would include small businesses that rent booths at the Ferry and Bus Terminals, the Amina Craft Market and the Pelican Mall.

2. Reduction in the VAT rate for 3 months (July to September 2021) from 10% to 5% on commercial rent for small businesses with 25 or fewer employees and a valid business license.

3. The reinstatement of the annual Import Duty exemption for 16 tyres (4 tyres per quarter), 4 pairs of brake pads and 3 pairs of brake shoes for ‘H’ passenger
buses.

4. A fuel subsidy of $400 per month to passenger bus operators for 3 months, and;

5. The waiving of stall fees for vendors using the public market until December 31st.