Minister for Finance and Economic Management, Johnny Koanapo, has expressed appreciation for the private sector and community involvement in the humanitarian responses to TC Harold, the Tanna ash fall and COVID-19.
With external agencies unavailable due to border restrictions, the private sector has stepped in to work alongside the NDMO and in-country development partners.
The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Business Resilience Council, business houses and workers have all volunteered to help with logistics, deliveries and assessments.
In thanking the private sector, the Minister noted that many of the businesses and workers are themselves being supported through the Employment Stabilisation Payment (ESP) and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Grant.
“This is how the economic stimulus package is supporting workers, business and communities,” said Minister Koanapo.
The government is spending VT4.2 billion in fiscal stimulus, which includes VT2.5 billion on the ESP and VT400 million on the SME Grant.
Individual Business owners are advised to get appropriate advice from the government or its stakeholders, so they can be able to complete the required formalities.
The Ministry of Finance also wish to confirm that the SME Grant will be paid to each eligible Business License category for each of the business that is qualified.
The Minister acknowledged “money alone won’t get us through the compounded crisis that is impacting our country.”
He added that “we all have a part to play and must keep working together to recover and rebuild more resilient communities.
“I have had discussions with Deputy Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau that for those who are receiving help from the Government while staying home should come forward and offer to help Government in preparation for the 40th celebration preparations or be invited by sectors to help out in projects or even assist the recovery efforts from TC Harold.”
Everyone is encouraged to continue to find ways to support the national recovery. Beneficiaries from the already rolled out stimulus packages should invest the money they received wisely, so it can help to sustain family needs.
Unfortunately, however, it is apparent that some individuals are seeking to use the current crisis to profit politically.
Minister Koanapo urged groups and associations who are working on behalf of their members to respect the stimulus package and not use it as a political tool.
He stressed “these are vital economic lifelines to keep people in jobs, address short-term cash flow challenges and set us up for recovery.”
Eligible businesses are encouraged to apply directly through the Department of Finance and Treasury (doft.gov.vu) for stimulus support.
The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (vcci.vu), the Public Land Transport Authority, and the Handicrafts and Market Vendors associations are also available to assist their members.