Grenadians will begin receiving unemployment benefits from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) later this month.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, gave this assurance on Sunday as he delivered a national address, in which he provided updates on the various economic stimulus measures, previously announced by the government.
The Prime Minister said, “Later this month, the National Insurance Scheme will begin paying unemployment benefits to eligible persons. It is estimated that more than 5,000 people will receive the benefits, disbursed over 6 months.”
The sum earmarked for this particular benefit is $10 million and it is expected to cushion the fallout being experienced by those who have lost their jobs as a result of Covid-19.
When Dr Mitchell spoke in the House of Representatives in April, presenting the motion for the Supplementary Estimates, he noted that “everyone in some way has been affected by the effects of Covid-19 but the support cannot take the same form for all concerned.”
In preparing for the roll-out of this benefit, the NIS is working with the Attorney General’s Chambers to make the necessary legislative changes. These are expected to be finalised shortly and published in the Government Gazette.
The NIS is also undertaking internal preparations including the creation of a specific unit to deal with unemployment benefits, the training of staff and making adjustments to the software that will process payments.
This will be the second time in its history that the NIS will pay unemployment benefits. The previous occasion was in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan which devastated the country’s infrastructure and impacted the livelihood of a significant number of people.
Office of the Prime Minister