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Millions Paid In Relief Packages, Now Government Moves To Reform Severance Fund and Enhance Productivity

By Clive Bacchus

St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris is reporting on the relief measures employed to help people cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that has forced closed borders, lockdowns, and a virtual halt to the tourism industry.

“To date over 2,000 holders of mortgages valued at over $400 million benefitted. We facilitated an additional 940 persons who lost incomes due to COVID-19. The PAP beneficiaries count peaked at about 5,800 as more households lost their breadwinners.

Up to September 2020, my Government has paid out $23 million in Poverty Alleviation stipends to assist the poor and vulnerable in our midst. In addition, with the $1,000 per month stimulus package, a further $20.6 million were paid by Social Security Board over a 3 months period (April to June).”

On “Leadership Matters” Tuesday night, the prime minister said the government also injected EC$11 million into the Severance Fund which has received close to 2000 claims.

“So far 1,855 claims for severance payment have been received by the Labour Department and 620 have completed the necessary processing and are approved for payment. ”

Dr. Harris also reported on the source of the claims

” Significant claims have been processed from the Marriott Hotel, OTI, Park Hyatt, Four Seasons Resort, Nisbet Plantation, TDC Airlines, Caribelle Batik, Delisle Walwyn, (Kantours, Vacation Tours, SKI Safari), to name some entities in the tourism sector, the manufacturing and construction industry. ”

The government is awaiting a report from an actuary on the way forward for the Severance Fund and is also about to institute reforms, after consultation, to enhance productivity and to stabilize the labour market.

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