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NIC to pay out cash to Saint Lucians in COVID-19 stimulus package

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet last night rolled out a 3-month stimulus package for Saint Lucians hit hard by COVID-19 that includes monthly payments and other incentives.

Called the Social Stabilization Programme, the stimulus package is said to be two-fold and was said to be “a programme that might not replace your salary but certainly, it will soften the economic blow and provide some level of relief.”

The programme will take into consideration persons who have completely lost their income; the more vulnerable persons in society; the elderly, persons on the poverty list and persons waiting to be on the poverty list.

Temporary income support will be provided to NIC contributors and non-NIC contributors for a period of three months in the first instance.

With respect to NIC contributors, a monthly payment relative to their salaries will be paid, between $500 and $1,500 will be offered, for a period of three months in the first instance starting in April.

Persons eligible for this program:

Those who have paid contributions to the fund for at least one month prior to February 2020; persons who became unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and persons who have not been in receipt of other benefits from the NIC.

The NIC allowance is estimated to cost between $33 – $80 million, over a three-month period, depending on the number of eligible persons. A review will then be conducted to determine whether an extension for another three months will be needed.

“The Government will provide a subsistence allowance to persons, who have been displaced (through loss of employment or income) as a result of COVID-19. This income support will be in the amount of $500 monthly for three months. This is expected to be in excess of $16.8 million, based on the number of eligible persons,” Chastanet said.

“Our situation today brings to light the importance of persons signing up to NIC. For those not making a contribution and who the Government will be providing support to, a precondition will be that they must sign up to the NIC,” Chastanet said.

He said that against the reality of significantly lower revenues during the period April to June 2020, the government will be confronted with the challenge of balancing the need for social stabilization to provide relief to people against the government’s own revenue needs to generate resources to respond to these very same expectations and requests from affected persons.

The following measures will be implemented:

1. An extension of time will be granted for Corporate Income Tax installment payments due on March 31, June 30, and September 30, 2020. The extension of time is for one month in each instance.

2. An extension of time will be granted for the filing of Income Tax Returns by one month for all tax types administered by the Inland Revenue Department. This pertains to all individuals, individual enterprises, companies and other entities. Persons and entities are all encouraged to use the Inland Revenue Department’s Electronic Filing Platform to file their tax returns and make payments online, as it is a convenient, safe and reliable medium. This will also facilitate greater adherence to the social distancing protocols currently in place.

3. The waiver of interest and penalties on all tax types administered by the Inland Revenue Department due in the month of March, 2020. Similarly, all payment due dates for the months of April to September 2020 will be extended by one month (for example, Value Added Tax (VAT) payments due on April 21st 2020 will now be due on May 21st 2020; Personal Income Tax payment due on March 31, 2020 will now be due on April 30, 2020).

4. In order to encourage companies to maintain their staff the Government will offer a tax credit of 30% of the employee’s full salary. The tax credit will be tiered, based on the number of employees that are retained by the entity. One condition is that the company would have to obtain a tax clearance certificate from the Inland Revenue Department, to show that they are not indebted to the government for the payment of taxes.

5. Barrel Concessions – As part of the Government’s response to the impact of this pandemic, the annual duty-free barrel trade will take effect much earlier than normal and start in June to allow persons sufficient time to receive much needed items from family members and friends abroad.

(More in the Saturday’s issue of The VOICE Newspaper)

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...


  1. i manage a small business selling snacks and crafts to the public including tourists
    but due to the covid19 pandemic my means of income has come to a halt.
    please include me in your covid 19 package
    thank you.

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