A COVID-19 Economic Stimulus-Response Plan which seeks to allocate funds to jobless residents, struggling businesses, hotels, taxi operators, and other areas, has been delivered by Premier Andrew Fahie.
The majority of funds for the US$62.9 million plan, came from the Social Security Board (SSB) and represents Phase Two of the government’s stimulus-response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Fahie, of the total package, $40 million was a grant from the SSB while US$17 million was from the SSB’s Affordable Housing Project.
An additional US$2 million grant was received from an undisclosed source, and will go towards assisting with infrastructure.
The remaining funds amounting to US$3.9 million will be from government’s coffers.
The BVI Premier said US$10-mllion will be channelled towards unemployment relief support for persons who have been either laid off or placed on reduced working hours or days because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Fahie added that US$6.5 million will be made available to local businesses that were affected by the virus.
“Businesses that qualify for this grant will be expected to put this funding to work and make a genuine effort to keep their staff employed,” Fahie explained.
“These special business grants to help our local businesses will be administered by a team comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Premier’s Office and the Department of Trade, Investment Promotions & Consumer Affairs,” he added.
Another area to benefit is the accommodation sector that will be allocated one million dollars for hotels, guest houses, inns and villas who were forced to close to visitors because of COVID-19.
The funds will go towards assisting with cash flow to provide income opportunities for their employees and also to stimulate opportunities for security services, food provisioning, and transport initiatives.