Vanuatu Government responds to concerns about COVID-19 Employment Stabilisation Payment criteria

The Government through the Ministry responsible for Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) the eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Employment Stabilisation Payment is still mandatory.

The ministry clarified the issue after some members of the private sector raised concerns about the criteria.

“The criteria is essential to guide the implementation of these payouts and for the government to ensure a more equitable distribution of financial support to the most affected groups and employees,” the ministry said.

The criteria will also help the Ministry and the Government be accountable to the public and the funding agencies for the use of funds towards this stimulus package.

The private sector claims 81 per cent of businesses are likely to lay off their employees and close down because they are not eligible to receive the Employment Stabilisation Payment.

The Vanuatu Media Association also called on the government to reverse its decision on the eligibility criteria for the Employment Stabilization Payment so that its members  can also qualify.

While most business sectors are directly affected as a result to the COVID-19, a few others are still able to operate effectively” MFEM stated.

Having said this, it is important to make it clear that the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) is broken down into several components of which the Employment Stabilization Payment is one major one. Other components in the package should cater for those businesses that do not meet the Employment Stabilization Payment criteria.

The government in its decision No. 16 of 2020 announced the following components within the Economic Stimulus Package;

1. The Employment Stabilisation Payment

2. The School Tuition fee subsidy (Education Sector),

3. The Small and Medium business enterprise grant package (SMEs),

4. The Commodity subsidy (Agriculture Sector)

5. And the Shipping Subsidy (Shipping Sector).

The Government also assured the business sector that it will still review the announced economic stimulus in light of the recent developments of the COVID-19 after June, to determine what policy direction it will have to take after that.


Photo RNZ Pacific 


Tensly Sumbe