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Aug 11, 2020

Micro and Small Businesses Need Help to Rebound from Economic Hardship

Leroy Almendarez

COVID-19 has disrupted commercial activity for many entrepreneurs at micro, small and medium levels.  A majority of those are part of the cross-section between tourism and agriculture and as many as fifty-four percent being classified as micro businesses.  The impact of the pandemic has led to the temporary closure of thirty-five percent of all such entities, with almost thirteen percent closing down altogether.  What is equally alarming is that only ten percent of all micro enterprises were able to sustain themselves for a six-month period amid the economic shutdown and rebounding period.  Those private sector entities are being assisted financially to return to sound footing, however, there are specific requirements that aim to safeguard the wellbeing of employees.

 

Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Executive Director, BELTRAIDE

“Before March twentieth or March twenty-third you had fifteen employees, but you now have ten employees, I think one of the questions that we had fielded was, “Do I apply for fifteen or for ten?”  But you only retained ten, so let us say, for example, you at least paid something to those five employees, you now have fifteen employees that you’re willing to retain, then in this case we can say, okay, fine, you have fifteen employees, you now have fifteen employees…remember, you can keep social security up to date and that helps the employee because of the contributions are up to date.”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett, Minister of State, Ministry of Labor

“Let me put it like this, if you have a business that you want to apply for wage assistance, you can’t give us a list of employees who you did not have on hand, who were not working when COVID hit, you can’t.  You can’t bring people back from two years ago.”


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