#Jamaica – March 26, 2020 — Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, has announced the provision of approximately $2 billion in grant assistance for tourism and small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Jamaica.
The funds are being made available under the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.
Outlining the details of the support, while closing the 2020/21 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 24), Dr. Clarke advised that grants totalling $1.2 billion will be provided for businesses operating in tourism and related sectors.
These include small hotel and tour operators, and attraction, transportation and entertainment companies, which Dr. Clarke noted, will be under “severe financial stress” over the next three months, “with near zero revenues, while enduring fixed operating costs.”
He said that the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) will be consulted in relation to the maximum sum that any single business can receive, among other criteria.
Dr. Clarke explained that the grants will be accessible via application to a special multi-stakeholder COVID Tourism Grant Committee and by submitting specified information.
This includes: audited financials and management accounts; projected cash-flow statements along with assumptions; recovery plans with other steps being taken; statements of personal assets and liabilities; and evidence of tax compliance, as agreed on with stakeholders.
“Grants won’t be available to all operators and priority will be given to tourism-related businesses below a threshold size to be determined, which can demonstrate the existence of a viable recovery plan that incorporates resources from other sources,” Dr. Clarke informed.
Meanwhile, the Minister told the House that grants amounting to $800 million will be provided for all small businesses with sales of $50 million or less, that have filed taxes in the 2019/20 fiscal year, and payroll returns indicating that they have employees.
Dr. Clarke said each entity will be eligible for a one-time COVID Small Business grant of $100,000.
“They will be required to fill out a form online providing their banking information. The process will involve verification of a submitted tax return for 2019/20 as well as the submission of the relevant payroll returns relating to employees the small business may have,” he said.
JIS BY: DOUGLAS MCINTOSH