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  • Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke advised that 80 per cent of the Compassionate Grant applicants opting to receive their payments via remittance agencies have collected these.
  • Dr. Clarke indicated that where persons are unable to visit designated locations, “we will be instituting a measure that allows for those individuals to elect someone to collect on their behalf with the appropriate procedures.” adding that “more will be announced on that shortly”.
  • The $10-billion CARE Programme aims to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on individuals and entities.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says grants under the Supporting Employees with the Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) component of the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme, are expected to be disbursed this week.

He advised that applications for some 26,000 persons are being processed, adding that “I am expecting that payments will be made to the commercial banks this week”, following a review of the verification procedure by the Auditor General’s Department, to ensure payees’ compliance with the defined eligibility criteria.

The SET Cash grant is for persons earning $1.5 million or less, whose employment was terminated after March 10 as a result of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on economic activity.

Employers are required to upload the P45 forms for their former employees to the www.wecare.gov.jm website to enable applicants to qualify for the provision.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke advised that some 250 applications are now being processed for the Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) component, representing some 26,000 employees within the tourism industry.

The BEST Cash Programme will provide temporary cash transfers to registered businesses operating within the tourism industry that are registered with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo).

This will be based on the number of workers they keep employed, who are at or under the income tax threshold of $1.5 million per annum, as confirmed by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ).

Businesses that apply and qualify will receive $9,000 per fortnight for each employee retained on their payroll, which they will remit accordingly.

Dr. Clarke indicated that the BEST Cash verification process will also be reviewed to ensure compliance, adding “I expect payments to occur in May”.

“The same holds for the small business grants, which have also been processed. That processing [exercise] is being subjected to an independent review before payment can be authorised,” he informed.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke advised that 80 per cent of the Compassionate Grant applicants opting to receive their payments via remittance agencies have collected these.

Additionally, he said the remaining 20 per cent of the beneficiaries choosing this disbursement option can collect their payments at the remittance outlets indicated on their application.

“Those remittance companies have indicated the branches that are available for such collections,” the Minister further stated.

Dr. Clarke indicated that where persons are unable to visit designated locations, “we will be instituting a measure that allows for those individuals to elect someone to collect on their behalf with the appropriate procedures.” adding that “more will be announced on that shortly”.

The Minister also highlighted challenges relating to information for bank accounts that were submitted for deposits, noting that some had the wrong branch or, in some cases, “they had a name on the account [that was] different from the name on the application”.

“We have invited all of those applicants to re-enter that data… and once it’s re-entered, that information will be incorporated… [for] the next batch of transfers,” Dr. Clarke said.

The $10-billion CARE Programme aims to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on individuals and entities.

It forms part of the $25-billion relief package initiated by the Government to deal with the health crisis.

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