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490,000 apply for COVID financial assistance in Jamaica

490,000 apply for COVID financial assistance in Jamaica

The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service says it has received just under half a million applications for the various financial assistance packages for Jamaicans hit hard by the effects of COVID-19.
Deputy Financial Secretary Courtney Williams told members of the parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) a short while ago that the finance ministry has received 490,000 applications as of Tuesday, April 21.

Giving a breakdown, Williams said applications for compassionate grants account for the lion’s share of the requests for support with about 403,000 applications.

Last week, the finance ministry closed the applications for compassionate grants as this category was apparently oversubscribed.

The ministry has received 60,000 applications for the Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) SET Cash programme.

The initiative provides temporary cash transfers to individuals from any sector where it can be verified that they lost their employment since March 10 when the first COVID case was confirmed in Jamaica.

Applications opened on April 9.

For general grants, which comprise barbers and hairdressers among others, some 24,000 applications have been made for the benefit.

The ministry reports that 3,500 applications have been made for assistance from small businesses.

Approximately 200 applications have been made for financial support under the Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) programme.

This initiative is expected to provide temporary cash transfers to registered businesses in the hotel, tours, and attractions industries based on the number of workers under the $1.5 million income tax threshold who they keep employed.

The businesses must be licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board.
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