Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Kerrie Symmonds, is appealing to all unregistered businesses to regularise their operations so that they could benefit from government assistance, especially during a crisis.
Speaking during a press conference this evening, he lamented that too many people were operating under the radar and were not registered with the National Insurance Scheme, even though the minimum contributions paid was $20 to $25 a week.
“They are not paying taxes; they are not part of the system. But then, when we have a crisis such as this, or heaven forbid…a hurricane or some other kind of calamity, you want government to be able to assist you. But government can’t realistically come to the assistance of people we do not know about. And, therefore, it is very critical for all of our entrepreneurs to take the time to make the effort to become formally a part of the system and not operate under the radar,” Mr. Symmonds underlined.
Responding to a query about financial assistance to restaurants and larger businesses, the Small Business Minister advised those businesses to make a case.
“I think a case would have to be made and I would advise those people who feel like they are in those set of circumstances to do a little advocacy and come to us and let us see what is possible and if it is possible.
“It is true to say that through the Fund Access and the trust loans we would have leant assistance to hundreds of businesses in the aftermath of the last lockdown. I don’t take lightly the challenge, but equally I have to proceed with caution. Because, even as everyone is making their special pleading, the reality is that government’s resources are also falling; tax revenues are falling because there is less tax take coming into the country, or coming into the coffers of the country as a result of the declining activity,” he stated.
The Minister said Government would do its best to assist where possible, but acknowledged that there is a limit as to what is possible.