WILLEMSTAD–In a report, the Emergency Fund Covid-19 Committee makes six proposals to prevent workers from massively losing their jobs. The total cost of the package for three months is 765.5 million Antillean guilders.
– Companies with a loss of income of more than 25 per cent are to receive financial support that can cover between 20 and 80 per cent of salary costs per month. The condition is that there are no layoffs among permanent employees.
– Small businesses and one-person enterprises will receive NAf 1,335 per month. The sectors most affected are prioritised, such as public transport, catering, retail and entertainment.
– Those who lost their job after March 15 will receive compensation of up to NAf 1,000 per month.
– People who receive social assistance can get an extra compensation of NAf 450 per month, because they cannot earn the allowed NAf 600 with a part time jobs now.
– Credit facilities of up to NAf 100,000 guilders for micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the hardest-hit sectors to be able to pay the fixed costs.
– Organisations and people who care for others, such as the elderly, people with disabilities and families with children will also get help.
There is NAf 3.5 million guilders to finance micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that adhered to the precautionary measures taken by government to prevent a local outbreak of Covid-19. The funding applications are processed through the online support centre “Mi Negoshi” (My Business) of the Ministry of Economic Development (MEO). “It’s at the heart of our economy,” said Minister Giselle Mc William.
This amount became available thanks to development banks Obna and Korpodeko. Mc William: “The intention is to increase the amount to 40 million guilders.”
Aid to micro, small and medium-sized businesses is one of the proposals of the Emergency Fund Commission Covid-19. Companies in the most severely affected sectors can use a credit facility of up to NAf 100,000.
Employers who have seen their company’s revenues decrease by more than 25 per cent receive financial assistance through the Employment Bridging Emergency Scheme (NOW) to cover 20 to 80 per cent of labour costs monthly, on condition that permanent employees are not fired.
Because the basic principle of the government’s solidarity package is that mass dismissal of employees will be prevented in the next three months at least. Small business owners and entrepreneurs without staff receive 1,335 guilders per month, but the priority is with those who received the hardest blows, such as the public transport, retail and entertainment sectors.
The minister noted that most financial institutions cater to their customers in times of crisis and are more flexible in terms of loan repayments. But she is also concerned because not all banks follow that policy and give customers more room to pay off their debt.
Mc William thinks it is immoral “that an institution now makes money on top of the pain that people suffer. If someone has lost his job, it is only human to adjust the payment arrangement.” She called on the banking association to take steps if it turns out that financial institutions are not in solidarity.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/proposals-for-covid-19-fund