Government has introduced a second supplementary package of $6.77million, $6.5million or 96 percent of which will go towards a stimulus programme to be doled out by March.
Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade Hon. E. Jay Saunders made the announcement on Thursday, January 27, as he laid the second supplementary budget bill for this financial year on the table of the House of Assembly, in which the stimulus is included.
“This good, good government of the people is proposing to give $500 to all eligible Turks and Caicos Islands status holders and British Overseas Territories Citizens living in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and persons must be 18 years and older to qualify for it,” he said.
He announced that funds should start to dispense by March 11, adding that the Treasury would provide check delivery services to those who are shut-in, so there would be no need for them to line up for the goodies.
The stimulus would be funded by a $2million cut from the Contingency Fund; $3.5m in application for Property Acquisition; $3.069m from application for the Works Programme; and $200,000 from application for Development Finance.
Grounding the announcement on Proverbs 3:27, Saunders told the House that as part of doing good, as the scripture recommended, government saw it fit to release another stimulus so as to make the financial burdens of Turks and Caicos Islanders and British Overseas Territories Citizens (BOTC) somewhat lighter.
“Included in the second supplementary for financial year 2021 is variation of $6.77, of which 96 percent - $6.5million will be used specifically to do good for those to whom it is due,” he said.
Minister Saunders noted also that $69,000 of the supplementary estimates would go towards addressing outstanding allowances for the current members of the House of Assembly, which he said was recommended by the local body of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) at its last meeting.
He said $150,000 will go towards the funding of consultancy and public /private partnership to assist in the legal and regulatory framework. The finance minister also indicated that $50,000 has been allocated in the supplementary budget to enhance specific police initiatives, with the aim of chopping serious crimes.
He said the stimulus was necessary because inflation has been spiked all over the world, and the TCI was not exempt.
“The Organization for Economic Corporation Development estimated that inflation in 38 member states, of which TCI is a member, would have reached 5.21 percent by the end of 2021. Inflation rate in the United States, on which the TCI is highly dependent, is estimated to hit a 30-year high of 6.2 percent in November 2021.
“In addition, the Coronavirus pandemic has practically crippled the global supply chain, which is having a significant impact on the global inflation rate…so we are addressing it,” he asserted.
He added: “This stimulus is being used to provide economic assistance to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands that continue to experience adverse effects, due to the economic hardship caused by the Coronavirus pandemic particularly as it relates to increase in inflation.”