by Lissa Joseph
The ability of the business community to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus has been enhanced with support from the Government of Taiwan.
The initiative was designed in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce to assist owners and lower income employees of micro small and medium enterprises to mitigate the spread of COVID 19.
SME’s have been hard hit by the pandemic, given the need to curtail business activity to prevent the spread of the virus.
Minister for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs, Hon. Bradley Felix, said the Government of Saint Lucia is pleased to receive assistance of just under EC$1 million from the Government of Taiwan through the Embassy of Taiwan in Saint Lucia.
The funds will be utilized to provide supplies to 5000 staff at the lower income levels and 3000 owners of micro small and medium enterprises to enhance their capacity to adhere to two components of the COVID-19 protocols—wearing masks and sanitizing.”
Taiwanese Ambassador H.E Peter Chen has commended the determination and efforts of Hon. Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Hon. Minister Bradley Felix, and the Government of Saint Lucia to combating the pandemic and rejuvenating the economy.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs, Sophia Henry, thanked all those involved for their assistance.
“We were encouraged by the speedy action of the Department of Economic Development in processing our request for assistance from the Government of Taiwan. Thousands of lower income employees and owners of SME’s will receive reusable facemasks and a variety of cleaning supplies for use at home and in their businesses,” she said.
Executive Director of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Brian Louisy, indicated that following talks with relevant entities one of the priorities was to see the safe reopening of the economy.
“We want to help businesses especially the small businesses develop the capacity to operate safely. So we sought to provide information and also the tools to do so. We thought this type of initiative will help them change the signs that are on their doors that say “no mask no entry” to “no mask come in we will give you one” so we don’t turn business away; because we need businesses to operate and we need the small and micro businesses to operate.”
The initiative costs some $935,800 EC dollars and targets 5000 staff at the lower income levels and 3000 owners of micro small and medium enterprises.