More than 600 local businesses that requested help from the Government through its COVID-19 stimulus grant programme are yet to receive any form of acknowledgment to their applications and have not received assistance.
This was revealed during the House of Assembly on March 10.
During that sitting in the question and answer segment, Opposition Leader Hon. Marlon Penn asked Premier and Minister for Finance Hon. Andrew Fahie
for an update on the programme.
“The ongoing COVID
-19 pandemic continues to impact the business sector of the Virgin Islands
economy. Businesses are important for driving economic activity in any economy; businesses provide jobs and enable employees to meet their social and financial needs,” Premier Fahie
He said the response to the business grant stimulus was overwhelmingly positive and informed that a total of 1,883 business grant applications were received.
“Of the applications received, a total of 1,258 applicants have received notice that they were approved to receive grants. Mr. Speaker, no business received any notification that they were denied,” he continued.
He said the 1,258 applicants who were approved for the assistance have since received their stimulus grant checks.
“So there’s a difference of over 600 businesses that applied that didn’t get any denial notification? So how are we going to address those businesses?” Hon. Penn questioned.
“The answer is yes, they must get a response one way or the other, but remember the COVID
-19 grant programme is ongoing, and the other area we have to recognize is that some persons would have put in for multiple trade licenses. And, some decisions had to be made if they had seven trade licenses with seven different businesses, but we cannot allow one person to go with seven checks. So there was also a decision to space it out to make at least many persons across the diaspora and the BVI get some kind of stimulus check from the stimulus grant,” Premier Fahie
Out of the $62.9 million stimulus package that was mostly funded by the Social Security Board to aid in alleviating the impact of COVID
-19 in the BVI, $6.5 million was earmarked for businesses.