Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke says Jamaica is in for a massive negative economic shock, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says it’s uncertain when normality will return to the Jamaican economy.
This, as he notes a return to normality will depend on a number of factors beyond the nation’s control.
The Finance Minister notes that the tourism industry which is one of Jamaica’s largest foreign exchange earners will be at a standstill for up to three months, with low, if not zero occupancy.
In the meantime, the Minister states that the gains in employment will virtually be erased, as there will be a short rise in layoffs in the short term.
The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will also be adversely impacted.
And the finance minister has announced a one hundred thousand dollar grant for small businesses, to assist in mitigating against the impacts of COVID-19.
The measure was among several implemented to benefit citizens and businesses which will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which has crippled the tourism sector and reduced business to a trickle in others.
Speaking in parliament yesterday (March 24), Dr. Clarke noted that the health of small businesses is crucial to the functioning of the economy.
As such, the government will be stepping in to provide direct support to small and micro-businesses.
The Government will make more than $1 billion available for businesses operating in the tourism sector.
In the meantime, the government will also be making relief available to small farmers who might be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.