$33 million Contingency Fund will be tapped into to help with economic fallout
THE DISASTER Contingency Fund, built up through certain taxes and which now amounts to approximately $33 million, will be tapped into to assist with the economic fallout from COVID-19.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves noted this on Tuesday, March 17, speaking at a press conference at the Cabinet room.
He mentioned the Contingency Fund in the context of a set of measures that the Government was seeking to bring before Cabinet on Wednesday, March 18. These measures, according to Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves are to help weather the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister indicated that of all the different sources they may be able to use money from, there is a contingency fund that they went to Parliament to create two and a half years ago.
The Fund is fed by one per cent of the 16 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) and a US$3 tax per room per night at hotels.
Over two and a half years, this fund has built up to 33 million dollars.
He said the regulations governing the use of the Fund include emergencies generated by health consideration.
“Now if I didn’t have that little kitty put aside to take a few pennies from…,” he contemplated, adding, “remember at the time I said to people this is poverty reduction measure. Remember I said that – I say I’m sorry we didn’t do it earlier.”
“But now we can get something to help out in this difficult period,” he concluded.