Shadow Minister of Finance & Planning Mark Golding noted that “The Minister of Finance has pointed to $25 Billion of fiscal stimulus. However, the reality is that $15 Billion of this is from tax breaks that were announced in his recent budget presentation. The effect of those measures will be spread over 12 months from the 1st April, and will therefore have limited upfront impact.
What is needed is a robust fiscal response in the form of a range of well-designed, comprehensive upfront measures. We must provide a safety net for persons who will be most adversely effected by the severe economic fallout that is now unfolding. An upfront response of only 0.5% of GDP will not be adequate.”
Mr. Golding added: “The Opposition supports the announced ideas of cash transfers to businesses in targeted sectors, based on the number of workers that are kept employed, and to persons who are laid off since the 10th March during the Corona virus crisis.
However, these proposals do not go far enough. Jamaica has a large informal economy. As economic activity contracts sharply, the impact on micro-businesses in every sector is likely be severe.”
The Shadow Finance Minister concluded with the following proposals -
“We are calling for the following:
1. A mitigation grant of $50,000 per PATH family, as a special cash benefit to be distributed through PATH.
2. A special increase of $5 million per constituency per month to the Welfare component of the CDF for duration of the crisis, disbursed through the Social Development Commission. This will enable constituency representatives to respond quickly to cases of severe hardship which present on the ground, and help to fill gaps in the overall social safety net.
3. The rollback of GCT on hand sanitizers, soap, disinfectant wipes, sprays and other personal hygiene products recommended for constant regular use during the crisis, and on recommended medications for persons who become symptomatic, to ease the burden on consumers.
4. A moratorium on payroll statutory contributions during the crisis, to assist businesses to keep persons employed. “
- Countries: Jamaica