Leader of the Royal Opposition Honorable Marlon A. Penn, within a detailed National Address has called on the Government to implement a second stimulus plan.
Honorable Penn said “It is no secret that the Tourism sector is under serious strain, with a number of properties either closing or operating at minimal capacity.”
“Just a few weeks ago, we learned that Quito’s made the difficult decision to halt the reopening of its newly completed facility. Top of the Baths has also closed, and there are others who are contemplating the same. This coupled with the protracted delay in getting our seaports re-opened, means that many in our community are hurting. It is against that backdrop, that I would recommend and support another round of stimulus, i.e., Stimulus 2.0.”
USE GOVERNMENT FUNDING OR BORROW LOAN FROM SSB
Honorable Penn suggested that the monies be drawn from the Government coiffeurs or requested as a loan from the Social Security Board.
“To provide a further stimulus package, the Government should first look to its own Reserve funds, including budget reprioritization to free up funding. If requesting financing from the Social Security Board, a loan with fixed repayment dates and not a “grant” should be negotiated, and this is only after publishing a feasibility status report of the SSB”
DO NOT REPEAT MISTAKES FROM STIMULUS 1
Honorable Penn added that distribution of stimulus 2.0 must be done on a “sound criteria” adding, “we must learn from the execution challenges of the first stimulus package and put remedies in place to address those challenges, especially the gross delay in getting the stimulus money into the hands of those who need it most.”
The Premier Fahie-led government implemented phase 2 of the Economic Response Plan in May,2020 to the tune of $62.9 million. The majority of that funding came from the SSB in the form of a grant to assist the unemployed, underemployed and businesses in financial turmoil as a result of Covid-19.
However, some approved applicants are yet to receive their stimulus checks.