Private sector salary assistance from the government | 30 April 2020
Payments for April applications to be effected by May 13
By Elsie Pointe
As of yesterday, April 29, the Financial Assistance for Job Retention (FA4JR) committee has approved and effected payments for six applications in regards to private sector salary assistance from the government.
This figure represents less than 1% of the 4065 applications for salary assistance made by businesses and those who are self-employed as of yesterday.
The six businesses that have benefited so far are from a variety of sectors, notably hair salons, tour guides, import and wholesale companies and taxi drivers.
As of yesterday, the committee has assessed and given its decisions to 579 applications.
The number of applications for this month is expected to increase since the F4JR are still accepting applications after it extended the submission deadline from April 30 to May 8.
This scheme, enforced by the FA4JR committee, was set up to provide salary assistance to businesses in Seychelles who are being adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and these requests are to be considered on case by case basis every month, from April to June. The government pledged over R1 billion for this three-month scheme.
Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Maurice Loustau- Lalanne, yesterday revealed that another batch of salary payments are to be effected today.
He further added that the FA4JR committee is hoping to consider and finalise all of the 4065 applications received for April by May 10 and issue payments by May 13.
To ensure this happens, Minister Loustau-Lalanne said that the committee is ramping up its efforts and now has 42 personnel working on the requests.
He further noted that the committee is also working to improve its communication to applicants in regards to the status of their application and the final decisions – whether their applications were approved or denied.
With today being the end of the month, it would seem that a significant number of private sector employees will have to go several more days and even two weeks before they receive their salaries.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne explained that his ministry faced various challenges which have resulted into the delay in assessing applications and in making the necessary payments to those that have been approved.
“It is unfortunate that we cannot meet deadline for payment of salaries five days after the end of month, as prescribed under the law, but the ministry of finance also faced constraints such as the lockdown,” he noted.
He added that this was the main reason as to why the deadline for submission of applications was extended to May 8.
Additional constraints also came in the form of applications which had insufficient information for processing.
“But we are more comfortable in saying that the salary payment process will be smoother in May and June because we now have relevant details of these applicants,” Minister Loustau-Lalanne assured.
With the economic impacts of COVID-19, Minister Loustau-Lalanne also noted that the country will have to initiate a discussion on the 13th month salary and, perhaps, reconsider the conditions under which this is paid.