Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 2, 2020 (St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party): The economic fallout of the COVID-19 threatens the entire global financial and economic structure and could push hundreds of millions of people below the poverty line. The Head of the IMF has warned that the IMF “anticipates the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression.” She has advised that “Governments should spend as much as they could afford and more but keep the receipts.”
In response to the imperatives of the post-COVID-19 pandemic which threatens the entire global financial and economic structure, the NextGen Labour Party has devised several fiscal and economic solutions that would bring relief to the financial burdens of the workers, pensioners, students and small businesses which have been egregiously affected by this crisis.
Dr. Denzil Douglas, Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, made several groundbreaking announcements during the Party’s Virtual Public Meeting held June 1, 2020. According to Douglas, the NextGenSKN Labour Government, within 21 days of assuming office will do the following:-
1) Pay an honorarium of 2 month’s salary to all COVID-19 frontline workers including all nurses, policemen and other medical and security personnel.
2) Pay a 15% increase to all Government employees and pensioners retroactive from January 1, 2020.
3) Increase the monthly stipend to workers who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 from $1,000 per month to $1560 per month which is equivalent to the minimum wage of $360 per week.
4) Give every household a credit note of $3000 which they would be able to use to pay their electricity bills, water bills, NHC rents and mortgages and other obligations to the Government in the upcoming months.
5) Relieve our students and past students of their monthly payments of principal and interest to the Development Banks over the next 6 months. This will not be a moratorium but a forgiveness of the principal and interest payable over that period.
6) Increase the minimum level of age and disability pension paid by Social Security by 81% from its current level of $430 per month to $780 per month, which is half of the monthly equivalent of the minimum wage.
7) Establish a fund of $25 million in the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis to provide grants and loans to existing small businesses. The amount and terms of such loans and grants will be conditional of the number of persons that would be employed or re-employed by the enterprise.
8) Establish a guarantee scheme through the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) or through a special state-sponsored vehicle to guarantee loans required by small businesses from their existing bankers to recommence operations and meet their immediate working capital requirements.
“The NextGenSKN has already commenced work in developing a long-term economic recovery programme with a view to correcting any long-term structural damage to our economy that may have been caused by the coronavirus pandemic, expanding local production and our income generating capability, enhancing food security, and building our resilience to similar economic shocks in the future,” concluded Dr. Douglas.