The Premier, who described the government-implemented policy as an issue that has been plaguing businesspersons locally, said that payments will now be deferred for struggling business owners.
“So, what we have done is rather than burden them to have to pay all that is owed one time, we have passed in Cabinet … [the decision] to extend the payment over a year’s time in terms of whatever would have been the hindrance towards getting the certificate,” Premier Fahie stated last evening on the VIP Let’s Talk radio show.
The labour policy in question requires work permit holders and their employers to acquire good standing certificates from National Health Insurance, Social Security, and Inland Revenue departments. However, employers could only do so once outstanding payments have been made to these entities.
Most recently, Labour Minister, Vincent Wheatley, said the policy would be rolled back and substituted with something.
Meanwhile, Premier Fahie said the issue is very important to his government and will now allow persons to get their good standing certificates much more quickly.
He added that although this doesn’t exempt persons from paying, it will allow for a much wider payment window and added flexibility for business owners.
Premier Fahie explained that the expected relief is now likely to help to generate more activity in the economy much faster.
“Because there are persons doing contracts that need these good standing certificates; and we know that due to COVID coming out of the wake of [hurricanes] Irma and Maria, a lot of persons have met serious financial hardship, and to ask them to pay all those monies upfront is quite a task for them,” Fahie stated.
He said this was especially the case where persons had a backlog of outstanding debts to the government departments that require these payments.
“So, we’re trying to work with our people to jump start our economy, because the fact of the matter is we cannot use the same policies as before COVID to be used in the middle of COVID,” he added.