Market vendors, taxi men, barbers and hairdressers, among others in the informal sector who are hard hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19), are to benefit from financial support.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, said that the Government is working on a programme that will provide financial assistance for persons who may not be formally employed but are incurring losses due to the virus.

He was speaking at a COVID-19 Digital Town Hall on Thursday (March 26).

Dr. Clarke said the Government recognises that “there are several persons in Jamaica who are informally employed, in the craft market for instance, who have no business now. We know that bars are shut, hairdressers and barbers have less business, and taximen have less people to transport, so, we’re working on a programme for this broad group of persons”.

“We have reserved a sum that we will be transferring to address this segment and a sum that we can supplement with reallocation of expenditure,” he added.

Dr. Clarke informed that the Government will provide a grant to persons in these categories who can be verified through registration authorities.

He noted, for example, that market vendors are required to pay a fee to their municipal authority, and all persons up to date with their fees will be able to make an application for the grant, with details provided on their trade and stall numbers.

After those are matched with what their respective municipal authority provides, a payment will be prepared.       “We will do a similar thing with craft vendors,” he said.

“We are designing an intervention approach to assist those who are in the business of operating bars, and here again, bars are required to have a tavern licence or a spirit licence,” Dr. Clarke noted.