Opposition Leader Marlon Penn is calling on the government to disperse a second round of economic stimulus to further support residents and businesses still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just last May, the government rolled out a $62 million COVID stimulus plan — the majority of which was funded using a $40 million grant from the Social Security Board (SSB).
In a statement released late Monday night, Penn said another economic stimulus-response is needed given the continued strain on the local tourism sector and the “protracted delay in getting our seaports re-opened“.
Penn has termed this new package for which he is recommending the “Stimulus 2.0”.
No more ‘grants’ from SSB
To provide this new stimulus package, Penn said the Fahie administration should first look to its own “Reserve funds, including budget reprioritisation 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,” Penn stated.
He continued: “Stimulus 2.0 should be distributed based on sound criteria for getting help to those most in need of assistance. 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. I urge the government to share with us, the plan for supporting our vulnerable residents and businesses, through Stimulus 2.0.”
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