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  • On April 9, workers and businesses which have been severely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19), will be able to apply electronically for Government relief under the COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme.
  • Plans are also in place to set up a call centre where persons can telephone to get answers to their questions and get help with filling out the online application form.
  • This was stated by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, at a press conference, held at Jamaica House, on March 27.

On April 9, workers and businesses which have been severely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19), will be able to apply electronically for Government relief under the COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) programme.

Plans are also in place to set up a call centre where persons can telephone to get answers to their questions and get help with filling out the online application form.

This was stated by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, at a press conference, held at Jamaica House, on March 27.

“This online platform is what your fellow Jamaicans at the Ministry of Finance, Accountant General’s Department, Tax Administration Jamaica, and the professionals at E-Gov Jamaica are working on to put in place. They have been working around the clock on the platform which should go live on April 9 when you will be able to apply for one of the programmes that have been outlined,” he said.

The CARE programme, which was recently announced by the Minister, is  part of the Government’s response to cushion the effects of the virus on the country’s economy.

It covers four elements:

  • The  Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) – which will provide temporary cash transfer to registered businesses that are operating in the hotel, tours, attraction and segments of the industry that are registered with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), based on the number of workers that they keep employed, who are under the income tax threshold of $1.5 million.
    To qualify, each tourism business will need to apply for the Best Cash, by filling out the required form online, and then file the payroll returns on the 15th of April, May and June. For the three months, the Government will provide $54,000 over the period for each employee that a beneficiary company retains, once their taxable income is below $1.5 million.
  • Supporting Employees with Transfer of Cash (SET Cash ) – which will provide temporary cash transfer to individuals where it can be verified that they lost their employment since March 10 (the date of the first COVID case in Jamaica), due to the virus and this will be available for a specific period.
    Applicants who are successful will receive payment at the rate of $9,000 per fortnight, paid monthly from the month of application until June, provided that the application is made before the cut-off point for that month.
  • A special Soft Loan Fund to assist individuals and businesses that have been hard hit.
  • A special COVID related grant to support the poor and most vulnerable.

“The CARE programme is geared towards keeping employees connected with their employers, and where that is not possible, supporting employees who have become disconnected,” he said. Dr. Clarke said the platform is being built now, so that the benefits can be provided to individuals who apply, in a discreet manner.

The Minister emphasised that verification will be very critical as the money will be coming from taxpayers who will want to ensure that it is going to persons who have been most affected.

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