The Government’s allocation of a total of $30 million relief to self-employed and barkeepers is a welcome gesture but does not go far enough to assist these struggling persons.
Thousands of self-employed, temporary and casual workers have been displaced by the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the national economic slowdown.
Most workers of the approximately 5,000 bars have had no means of income over the past few months.
The shutdown of bars has also adversely affected providers of relevant goods and services.
The announcement of grants totalling $30 million is a belated acknowledged by the Government of the suffering and pain being by experienced by both groups.
In addition, scores of small and medium-sized businesses have had to close their doors or reduce their operations as a result of the devastating pandemic and the resultant economic falloff.
The relevant Government ministries and agencies should undertake a prompt and comprehensive audit of the financial effect, in collaboration with the Manufacturers’ Association and business organisations.
This should lead to appropriate fiscal stimulus support, including a sustained reduction in bank charges, and to pertinent technical aid.
The ripple effect of Covid-19 has led to the worst unemployment and trade and industry emergency in many years, and demands an urgent and holistic response from the Government.
The announcement by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley should be the first tranche in a concerted thrust to assist these deserved and ailing sectors of the national society.
Failure to do so would result in even more hardship throughout the country.