THE FIRST batch of salary relief grant payments may be disbursed as early as two weeks from now, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said Thursday.
Giving an update on the application process, which started in earnest last week, Imbert said at a post-Cabinet media briefing that “everything going very smoothly.” As at Thursday morning, he said there were 4,161 hand-delivered applications received from drop-boxes at TTPost locations in Trinidad and Tobago and 34,000 online applications, so just over 38,000 in total. The grants are being processed via the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
He also noted that the Ministry of Social Development has invited people outside the NIS system, including the self-employed, to apply for the income support grant – which is different than the salary relief grant. The minister had at a press conference last week noted that phase two of the salary relief grant programme would include those outside of the NIS system. On Thursday, he noted that Social Development had already devised an initiative to deal with a first batch of people not be within the salary relief grant’s criteria of being registered with NIS. “As we go along I’ve been in discussion with the Minister of Social Development. Of course, this will be a policy decision at the level of the government and the Prime Minister. It is my proposal to harmonise, so there is flow of information and cross fertilisation between the units doing valuation and distribution of income support grants, but the income support grants are already out.”
He also noted a tender from Nipdec on behalf of the Ministry of Finance asking for proposals from individuals, sole traders and firms for the local manufacture of cloth face masks. These masks have to be made in accordance to the guidelines given by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
People interested will have to submit a sample of their masks along with their tenders and the fashion department at UTT and the Bureau of Standards will evaluate for quality.