The Fono Ekepule today passed the government’s $8 million dollars supplementary budget earmarked for Covid-19 response. Delivered by the Minister of Finance, Hon. Crossley Tatui, the budget is allocated to the following;
For the health sector– 1.7 million dollars
Food security to ensure no disruptions to the supply chains of the food imports was allocated $950,000 to be administered through interest free loans at the Niue Development Bank.
1 million dollars for Sir Roberts Wharf, the lifeline to the country and a key piece of Infrastructure
The private sector will receive 1.4 million dollars which is expected to assist with the wage subsidies of struggling businesses.
The Niue Development Bank will receive 1 million for lending capital
Government Infrastructure will be boosted with $400,000 to purchase urgent equipment and for maintenance.
The tourism sector will receive 1 million dollars to help prepare the industry in anticipation of the borders opening for two-way quarantine free travel later in the year.
The government also allocated itself a discretionary fund of $500,000 for urgent or emergency situation.
In response to the passing of the supplementary budget, Catherine Papani of the Niue Chamber of Commerce says that the allocation for the private sector is “Good news and definitely gives us a sigh of relief that relief for many businesses can continue.”
“We have been in many discussions with the Minister of Private Sector prior to this announcement and this will indeed assist in the continued support for businesses. We will also be looking at other ways to assist businesses rather than just via a business wage subsidy for owners and employees” says Catherine Papani.
The Chamber of Commerce says that the biggest issue for the private sector remains the uncertainty of how long this pandemic will last which makes planning for business operations and cashflow extremely hard.