The Government has admitted that there are gaps in the economic stimulus package and is preparing to roll out a new income support programme.
In response to COVID-19, the Government implemented unemployment and under-employment grant programme at the Social Security Board. However, Minister of Health and Social Development, Hon. Carvin Malone said this unemployment programme provides redress for many persons, Government recognises that there is still a segment of the working population whose needs will go unmet by this programme.
"To help meet the coverage gap, an Income Support Programme has been designed to be administered by the Social Development Department and is awaiting formal approval. Funding in the amount of $1M has been earmarked for this programme," Hon. Malone stated in the House of Assmebly today, Sepetmber 22.
According to the Minister, in designing this new Income Support Programme for COVID-19, lessons learned from the Household Assistance Programme that was implemented in collaboration with the BVI Red Cross following the 2017 hurricanes have been considered.
He stated that since the onset of the pandemic, the Government has rolled out an Economic Stimulus Package to help bolster and expand the Social Protection System to meet people’s basic needs, while stimulating economic activity.
He stated that direct relief to households has been delivered through initiatives such as grocery provisioning, food vouchers, expanded feeding services, free water delivery and amnesties on water and electricity payments; which all helped to ensure that people’s basic needs could be met.