A $20 million Small Business Wage Fund is set to be established as a means to facilitate micro and small enterprises to help them cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 environment.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley disclosed this last night during an address to the nation from her official residence at Ilaro Court, when she announced that there would be a phased approach to re-opening the economy and containing the COVID-19 disease on the island.
Noting that the initiative would be administered by FundAccess, she stressed it would be for firms “too small to be eligible for Value Added Tax (VAT) or VAT refunds”.
Explaining further, Ms. Mottley said: “We are really talking mainly about micro and small businesses; and this Fund that we are establishing will now contribute $500 per month per employee up to five employees, where that employer is registered both at the Small Business Association (SBA), the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).”
While encouraging businesses not yet registered with the above entities to do so before May 18, in order to be eligible for the money, the Prime Minister said: “In short, you will be able to get $2,500 per month for two months to be able to assist with your payment of wages up to five persons, for each month. The firm must commit to holding at least 75 per cent of your overall staff, so whether you had 10 and you are down to seven or eight, I don’t think nobody is going to kill you if you come in at 70 per cent. But we need to be able to help you at that point.”
Ms. Mottley assured Barbadians that FundAccess, an agency under the Ministry of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, would be taking an open approach.
She said too that along with the SBA, the agency would be responsible for advertising and managing the details to ensure businesses would be able to access the new Small Business Wage Fund, over the course of the next week or two in May.