PM Chastanet announces monthly payments for “eligible persons”

By MERRICK ANDREWS, St. Lucia News Online staff

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PM Chastanet. File photo

(St. Lucia News Online) — Prime Minister Allen Chastanet announced Wednesday that temporary income support will be provided to contributors and non-contributors of the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) and a monthly allowance for persons who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

He made the disclosure during his address to the nation which details phase one of the government’s ‘Social Stabilization Programme — a response to the impact of COVID-19 on Saint Lucia.

Starting April 1, 2020, Prime Minister Chastanet said NIC contributors will receive a monthly payment of between $500 and $1,500, relative to their salaries, for three months “in the first instance”.

To be eligible, persons had to have paid contributions to the fund for at least one month prior to February 2020, became unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and must not have been in receipt of other benefits from the NIC, Chastanet said.

The NIC allowance is estimated to cost between $33 million and $80 million over a three-month period, depending on the number of eligible persons, the prime minister said.

“A review will then be conducted to determine whether an extension for another three months will be needed,” he said.

He said a “subsistence allowance” of $500 monthly for three months will be provided to persons who lost their jobs or income a result of COVID-19. He said this is expected to cost in excess of $16.8 million based on the number of eligible persons.

But there is a pre-condition in receiving this support if you have not been making a contribution to the NIC.

“Our situation today brings to light the importance of persons signing up to the NIC. For those not making a contribution and who the government will be providing support to, a precondition will be they must sign up to the NIC,” the prime minister pointed out.

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