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Government expands unemployment assistance

The government has expanded its unemployment assistance program to cover self-employed people outside the tourism sector, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said in the House of Assembly this morning.

Acknowledging the government’s 24-hour curfew and emergency orders business shutdown has impacted many who work for themselves, Turnquest said the expanded program is expected to launch through the National Insurance Board (NIB) next Tuesday.

Turnquest said NIB estimates 7,000 people meet the criteria to receive the assistance.

Those who meet the criteria will be paid $200 per week for the duration of the emergency orders.

The order currently extends to April 8.

An emergency was declared on March 17.

The government has allocated $5.5 million for the program.

Self-employed people outside the tourism sector must have a valid business license, have no additional employees, a NIB card or government ID with an NIB number, proof of income for January or February 2020 and register as self-employed with NIB.

Last week, NIB launched an employment assistance program for those self-employed in the tourism sector.

They are covered for $200 per week for eight weeks.

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