A total of 1,258 businesses have now benefited from the government’s COVID-19 Small-Business Sector Grant Relief Programme.
This number represents approximately 67 per cent of the total 1,883 businesses that applied for economic relief.
This leaves 625 local businesses that have not received any government assistance.
Responding to questions in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Premier Andrew Fahie
said those remaining businesses did not receive any official notification that they were denied.
“They must get a response one way or the other but remember the COVID
-19 grant programme is still ongoing,” stated Fahie
, who also said some of those remaining businesses belong to persons who had multiple businesses.
He said: “The other area we have to recognise is that some persons would have put in for multiple Trade Licenses and some decisions had to be made [to say], ‘well, alright. If they had seven trade licenses, we know it may be seven different businesses. But we cannot allow one person to go with seven cheques’. So there was also a decision to try and space it out to make sure that at least as many persons across the diaspora of the BVI got some kind of stimulus cheques.”
Opposition Leader Marlon Penn said he agrees with the decision not to give a business owner with several trade licences cheques for each business.
He, however, urged the Premier to ensure applicants with different circumstances are not overlooked.
“If there are persons there who haven’t gotten any cheques at all, we [should] find a way to get some support to those businesses because we all know the challenges that businesses are facing currently in this current climate,” he stated.