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Unemployment claims far exceed Government projections

Unemployment claims far  exceed Government projections
PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves

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As at June 5, the National Insurance Services (NIS) had processed 1076 of the 1321 unemployment benefit claims made.

And, in relation to persons in the tourism sector who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, 1454 unemployment claims were made and 1250 have been processed.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, speaking on radio last week said the NIS is making an important contribution to the social safety net in the country in relation to persons who are being impacted by COVID-19.

He said the NIS is spending EC$2 million on unemployment benefits which is seeing persons receiving EC$300 a month, while central government is contributing EC$750,000 to unemployment in the tourism sector.

The Prime Minister noted that if the NIS must make unemployment contributions beyond the projected three months, the government will have to provide money.

Gonsalves said that persons in the tourism sector who have lost their jobs will continue to receive payments up to July 17, 2020.

He said the estimated number of persons affected all around is greater than had been anticipated.

Additionally, COVID-19 relief payments will be made to 1700 vendors.

The Prime Minister said the numbers were originally placed at around 600 to 800 vendors, but that number climbed.

He said the increased numbers speak to the extent to which there is an informal sector. Gonsalves pointed out that apart from vending in Kingstown, there are a significant number of vendors in the constituencies, among them, 22 in North Central Windward.

“The payments have nothing to do with politics,” stressed Gonsalves who added that persons from throughout the length and breadth of the country, supporters of both the Unity Labour Party (ULP) and New Democratic Party (NDP), are receiving money.

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