Eastern Caribbean Human and Economic Impact Assessments
The report outlines a number of recommendations including: expanding the time frame for COVID-19 related unemployment benefits and covering the newly unemployed; providing liquidity for small firms with a Government guarantee scheme to backstop MSMEs through the crisis; expanding the School Feeding Programme to cover poor students in all schools and extending the benefit of EC $200 per month for each child; funding the short-run increase in expenditure using a temporary increase in the Interim Stabilisation Levy; establishing a shelter for women victims of gender-based violence, exploring partnerships with the tourism sector; implementing a permanent unemployment benefit fund, financed through a limited contribution increase by workers and employers to the Anguilla Social Security Board (ASSB); and amending the Anguilla Framework for Fiscal Sustainability and Development to account for the COVID-19 (and similar national crises), allowing for fiscal space and credit expansion.
Antigua and Barbuda
This Human and Economic Assessment of Impact (HEAT) Report for Antigua and Barbuda outlines a number of recommendations to assist the Goverment in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include the re-introduction a loan guarantee scheme to support businesses in securing financing for capital investment, expansion of the One Stop Employment Center prioritizing digitization and business model redevelopment; an expansion of the Board of Guardians Scheme both vertically and horizontally and a remittance strategy to ensure these funds can continue to flow without incumbrance.
This report outlines a number of recommendations including: enabling the availability of low-cost options for internet access to improve the livelihood potential of the
most vulnerable in society and reduce inequalities due to moving to online learning by broadening access to the internet for children in poverty; inclusion of informal
workers into the formal economy through the National Insurance Scheme which in the long term will increase the number of contributions and significantly improve the
health of the National Insurance Fund; expansion of the Central Bank of Barbados’ Credit Guarantee scheme; ensuring social assistance for all who need it, including
making unemployment benefits for self-employed individuals permanent to reduce their vulnerability in times of uncertainty and increasing the attractiveness of
the entrepreneurship sector which serves as the engine for economic growth; and increasing the limit on the Health Service Levy to expand healthcare facilities and
make contributions progressive.
British Virgin Islands
The report recommends examining the use of the framework created for the Financial Assistance Programme after Hurricanes Irma and Maria to provide temporary, expanded income support which would cost around USD 12 million at the lower end; exploring the provision of liquidity for small firms to preserve livelihoods through deficit financing or government guarantees; an extension to the period for work permit holders to find new jobs and the implementation of rapid work permit transfers to mitigate outward migration. Longer term, the report proposes a rigorous assessment of the current level of poverty to inform the design and implementation of an expanded, gender-responsive Public Assistance Programme and the development of a permanent unemployment benefit fund.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Saint Lucian economy was projected to continue along its growth path that has been ongoing since 2016. The economy was forecasted to grow at around 3.2% in 2020, building on the 4 previous years of growth. This growth was to be driven by the largest economic sector, services, more specifically the tourism industry, which is broadly responsible for 65% of output. The tourism sector accounted for 50.8% of total employment in 2018.
To mitigate the possible impacts of the pandemic, Saint Lucia used a three phased approach: health, social stabilisation and economic recovery, detailed in the body of the report. It's social and economic relief programme was launched on April 29th and included temporary income support of between $500 and $1,500 per month through the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) for contributors and non-NIC contributors for an initial period of three months and set to expire in July; a moratorium on bank mortgage repayments (principal and interest) for both individuals and entities for a period of six months through September; suspension of all rent payments for six months for those occupying government-owned commercial units; provision of direct support to local indigenous farmers to sustain their livelihoods, among others.
As the potential for a global second wave increases and the return of tourism is likely to be protracted, this report makes a series of additional recommendations to support the island’s social and economic recovery, including the expansion of the agricultural extension services to provide agricultural inputs to encourage self-production; the implementation and targeted delivery of a “family food basket” to provide support to the most vulnerable families; the expansion of the Disability Benefit to include adults and victims of sexual abuse and gender-based violence; a strategy to designate firms processing remittances as essential services; and the expansion of home-schooling programmes to help address the gap in learning opportunities as academic recovery is an important imperative.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
This Human and Economic Assessment of Impact (HEAT) Report for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines models a series of impacts on economic growth & government finances and identifies a range of relevant interventions needed to promote relief and resilience and assist the Goverment in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Coverage: UN COVID-19 Assessment for Barbados proposes low-cost Internet for recovery