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  • Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the Office of the Auditor General (AG) has been asked to review the application and disbursement processes under the Government’s COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme.
  • To qualify, applicants are required to provide, among other things, a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) that matches their date of birth and name when cross-referenced with Tax Administration Jamaica’s (TAJ) database.
  • Dr. Clarke advised that up to Monday, April 13, some 333,000 applications had been received for the CARE programme.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says the Office of the Auditor General (AG) has been asked to review the application and disbursement processes under the Government’s COVID-19 Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme.

He was speaking during a virtual press conference at Jamaica House on Tuesday (April 14) to provide an update on the Government’s COVID-19 response.

The temporary cash transfer arrangement, for which applications opened on April 9, will provide grants and relief packages to businesses and individuals, in order to cushion the economic impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“This process is one that will abide by the greatest level of transparency and, as a result, I have requested of the Auditor General [Pamela Munroe Ellis] that she review the application and disbursement processes… on a concurrent basis.

“Concurrent means that we don’t want to wait until the programme has ended for such a review to take place. But, for the review to take place [to facilitate payments] while the programme is ongoing,” Dr. Clarke said.

He noted that the Ministry is working with the AG’s Office to “generate a review draft that will be available to us prior to the first payments being made”.

The $10-billion CARE programme comprises several components – the Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET CASH), for workers with taxable income of $1.5 million or less who have been laid off or whose positions have been terminated; the Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST CASH), for businesses in tourism and related sectors who have retained employees whose taxable income is $1.5 million or less; general grants; compassionate grants; Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) grants; small business grants; tourism grants; Student Loan Relief; and other COVID-19 support programmes.

To qualify, applicants are required to provide, among other things, a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) that matches their date of birth and name when cross-referenced with Tax Administration Jamaica’s (TAJ) database.

They are also required to provide details of a bank account or indicate a remittance company to which payments will be directed, upon verification of their particulars.

Where persons have either lost their jobs or have been laid off, their employers are required to electronically upload a P-45 form to verify their status.

Dr. Clarke advised that up to Monday, April 13, some 333,000 applications had been received for the CARE programme.

These, he pointed out, include approximately 277,000 for the Compassionate Care grant, geared towards persons who are unemployed or informally employed, the elderly, and students over age 18.

Additionally, the Minister said just 47,000 applications have been received for the SET Cash programme, which is for persons who lost their jobs as at March 10, while 8,000 were submitted for the general grants programme tailored for various occupational groups.

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