Situation is ‘daunting” but “we will overcome it”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas must come out of the COVID-19 crisis more advanced and progressing towards greater efficiency a well-known businessman and attorney said yesterday, noting, “It’s a difficult situation but we will overcome it”.
Branville McCartney, the former Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader, said: “We are facing something we have never faced before in our lifetime. It’s really no ones fault. It’s a worldwide pandemic and our economy has basically come to a halt.
“We don’t know how long this thing will last. The curfew extends to April 8th but when you look at what’s going on in the United States which doesn’t seem to have a handle on it yet I think we can take our cue from there.”
Describing the current crisis as ‘daunting’, McCartney said: “failure is not an option”.
“The government has to, wherever they can, try and assist persons so that at the end of the day people still have a place over their head, food to eat and hopefully a business to go back to. We have to follow the rules and guidelines placed by the health experts on this one. We have to take this thing one day at a time.”
The government which is under tremendous fiscal constraints has announced several measures to self employed persons, SMEs and large private sector businesses amid the the COVID-19 fall-out.
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance announced that the government in an effort to protect up to 10,000 jobs within the private sector would introduce a payroll support initiative for qualifying businesses, as it will forego some $60 million in revenue over the next three months.
Under the program qualifying businesses can receive assistance under a tax credit and tax deferral to help cover payroll expenses.
The government has already launched a $20 million loan facility to assist SMEs. Mr Turnquest said on Monday that nearly $15 million had already been formally requested.
The government is also expanding its unemployment assistance programme for self-employed persons outside of the tourism sector.
McCartney said: “It’s a difficult situation but we will overcome.We have to come out of this situation more advanced and progressive. We have to now move with haste towards greater efficiency If we do things right we can come out of this bigger, better and more equipped for the future.”