DLP questions that, “How is the government planning to help the approximately 5,000 workers who submitted unemployment claims to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and are yet to receive benefits?”
Cox said with these record numbers, Barbadians were looking forward to incentives from the Government to stimulate the economy and, more specifically, create jobs.
During the estimates, Minister of Labour Colin Jordan outlined plans for his ministry and sought to justify the just over BBD 7 million allocated to his church. Jordan also referred to programs such as Safety & Health in the workplace and the First Start Project, among others.
Cox noted, “I want the government to get the unemployed back to being productive and contributing to society and their families. This is the time, not only for the Government to speak about the record levels of foreign exchange built up through consistent borrowing, but to invest some of that money into its people.”
He continued, “The content of government’s estimates reflected a lack of creative thinking, and it was not a proactive approach to withstanding the global pandemic in the best way possible.”
Cox maintained that with the second cancellation of Crop Over imminent, cultural practitioners would be without income.
He said the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) needed to revamp a lot of its programs. “These cultural and social events must now be delivered in a virtual space; have some of the leading Crop Over events produced and marketed to the local, regional and international community.
This will create opportunities for those in the sector to make some level of revenue, get back to work while being promoted in the international community.”
In conclusion, the shadow minister said out of necessity, and several unemployed Barbadians started micro-businesses so they can keep a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families.
“With increased online client shopping, bill payments, food and beverage production, virtual marketplaces and a host of other novel business ideas, the government needed to allocate funds to formalise these businesses and help them get to a level of sustainability and profitability.
The growth of such businesses may lead to the creation of employment for others,” he said.