The government is to give tourism businesses 9-thousand dollars per employee per fortnight for each employee they keep who earns less than 1-point-5 million dollars annually during the COVID-19 crisis.

Finance Minister, Dr. Nigel Clarke, announced this and several other measures to help alleviate the economic fall out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Clarke closing the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

Dr. Clarke says the move is to protect the most vulnerable, particularly in a sector which is expected to be hit the hardest by the pandemic.

In order to be eligible, the business must be a legally registered entity, apply online and file their payroll returns.

The Finance Minister also announced a programme for tourism workers who’ve been laid off.

He says this group will also be given 9 thousand dollars per fortnight monthly.

The Finance Minister says PATH beneficiaries will also receive more than one-billion dollars more to help cope with the fallout.

Dr. Clarke says persons enrolled on the State-sponsored social safety net programme are to receive an additional cash grant.

Dr. Clarke announced a hundred thousand dollar, one time grant, to small businesses with employees on staff.

He says it’s important to protect small businesses as vital elements of the economic system.

The process will involve verification after submitting tax returns and payroll returns.

The Finance Minister also announced a 1-point-2 billion dollar grant for small tourism businesses.

The grants will be accessible through application to a specific committee, where applicants must provide detailed information including a recovery plan and other steps being taken for accountability purposes.

Dr. Clarke says the route being taken is to support those entities which operate in accordance with the law.

Meanwhile, Dr. Clarke also announced that the Students’ Loan Bureau will waive fees and penalties for three months in order to help beneficiaries cope with the COVID19 crisis.

Dr. Clarke says the government’s COVID19 assistance is based on set principles.

According to the Finance Minister, chief among those principles is that the most vulnerable must be protected first.

He also says the fiscal measures to be undertaken will be transparent.

Dr. Clarke says those with personal and business reserves must utilize these resources and the government should not be the first port of call.

He also says the government will not put taxpayers money at risk.

Dr. Nigel Clarke Minister of FInance and the Public Service.