Sunday 5 July, 2020

St Lucia to roll out COVID-19 Stimulus Package

The Government of Saint Lucia is currently working on a major stimulus package to help the local economy amid COVID-19 outbreak.

The global pandemic has already seen a partial shutdown of the country, while the isolated population brace for a healthcare crisis and looming recession.

Several restaurants, bars, stores and other businesses are shuttered, while workers stay home, practising social distancing.

Several resorts on the island have already closed their doors, flights are not allowed into the country, cruise ships as well.

“The Prime Minister in his capacity of Minister of Finance is designing a stimulus package for the entire economy, not just hotel workers, not just vendors or taxi drivers or tour guides, but for everyone, so that we can have a comprehensive look at our relief effort,” Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee said.

The effects of the pandemic are being felt through all sectors, including the tourism sector, the hardest hit.

Fedee stated, “It is a difficult time for everyone, we very much empathize with all those workers who lost their jobs.”

Fedee admitted the upcoming months will be extremely difficult, considering there is uncertainty as to when the COVID-19 crisis will be over.

“It really is indicative of what’s happening across the world when we look at countries with more resources and how they are trying to deal with the crisis. Many of our main markets are struggling and it does not give the tourism community much confidence, but we are hoping for a miracle that we can all contain this spread of the disease over time and commerce can get back together.

Already, several banks have offered special aid to clients affected by COVID-19

This could include deferred payments; special loan financing and other concessions aimed at helping clients cushion the financial impact of the pandemic on households and businesses.

Several islands have already rolled out their stimulus packages.

Earlier this week, Barbados announced a BDS$20-million survival stimulus package.

Jamaica rolled out a $25 billion dollar package, the largest fiscal stimulus in the country’s history.

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, St Kitts Prime Minister, Dr Timothy Harris announced a $120 million dollar COVID-19 economic stimulus package for his country.

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