The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service is finalising the validation of applications on behalf of 22,000 workers, for the Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) component of the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.
The applications were received from 300 employers.
Speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House on May 31, Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said that the payment of the BEST Cash grants will commence as soon as the validation process is completed, along with some “other issues” being worked through.
BEST Cash is designed to support businesses in tourism and related sectors that have retained employees whose taxable income is $1.5 million or less per annum.
It is one of several components of the CARE Programme, which is intended to cushion individuals and businesses against the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke advised that payments for 381 of the 1,200 entities eligible for the $800-million small business grant component have been made and the processing of the remaining applicants is continuing.
He said the validation of applications for the general grant is now under way and is expected to span two weeks.
“That validation process is quite involved, because the number of occupational groups is quite large and the database for the validation would come from a different source,” he informed.
These include the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, in relation to bar owners, barbers and hairdressers; the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) for ground transport operators such as members of the Jamaica Union of Travellers Association (JUTA), and Jamaica Co-operative Automobile and Limousine (JCAL) Tours Ltd. (JCAL); and the Transport Authority in relation to public passenger vehicle (PPV) licensees.
Dr. Clarke advised that the validation process will be subject to review by the Auditor General’s Department, as is the case for the other components of the programme, and once completed, the transfers for the general grants will begin.