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Hon Penn calls for 2nd round of COVID stimulus $$

Hon Penn calls for 2nd round of COVID stimulus $$

Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) has called for a second round of business stimulus grants, which he says should be directed to the tourism industry.

The Opposition Leader made the calls in a statement delivered last evening, February 22, 2021, as part of an address to the nation.

Penn previously criticized SSB funding


While the Opposition Leader has previously criticised the Fahie administration's use of grant funding from the Social Security Board (SSB), the new proposal also suggests that money could be taken from the same SSB.

“It is no secret that the tourism sector is under serious strain, with a number of properties either closing or operating at minimal capacity. Just a few weeks ago, we learned that Quito’s made the difficult decision to halt the reopening of its newly completed facility. Top of the Baths has also closed, and there are others who are contemplating the same,” he said.

As such, Hon Penn lamented that the economic challenges coupled with the delays in the re-opening of seaports, mean that many in our community are hurting.

While the Opposition Leader Hon Marlon A. Penn had previously criticised the Fahie administration use of grant funding from the Social Security Board (SSB), the new proposal also suggests that money could be taken from the same Board.


Stimulus 2.0


Calling the plan “Stimulus 2.0,” Hon Penn said the support could come from Government’s reserve funds, which can include budget reprioritisation to free monies already allocated.

“If requesting financing from the Social Security Board, a loan with fixed repayment dates and not a “grant” should be negotiated, and this is only after publishing a feasibility status report of the SSB,” he said.

The Economic Stimulus Plan of the Andrew A. Fahie Government in response to COVID-19 had received an injection of a $40M grant from the Social Security Board (SSB), which was criticised by the Opposition Leader.


Sound criteria for distribution – Hon Penn


According to the Opposition Leader, the ‘Stimulus 2.0’ will then be distributed based on sound criteria for getting help to those most in need of assistance.

“We must learn from the execution challenges of the first stimulus package and put remedies in place to address those challenges, especially the gross delay in getting the stimulus money into the hands of those who need it most,” he said, while urging the Fahie administration to support the plan.

Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) had announced a $62.9M Phase 2 Economic Stimulus Plan on May 28, 2020. The Economic Stimulus Plan in response to COVID-19 had received an injection of a $40M grant from the Social Security Board (SSB), which was criticised by the Opposition Leader.

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