LONDON, Oct. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- While some governments sought to reduce expenditure to tackle the economic impact of COVID-19, the Commonwealth of Dominica increased its social safety nets. During an online broadcast on October 4th, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit explained how these measures paid off. He notes that maintaining employment was key both for the economy and citizens' livelihoods.
Throughout the lockdown, the 72,000-people Caribbean island maintained the National Employment Programme (NEP), costing the government EC$3.7 million per month. The scheme helps young people secure internships and jobs, advance their skills, increase human capacity, benefit local communities, and support long-term economic growth. Revenues from Dominica's successful Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme fund the NEP.
"We have ramped up our social safety net programmes that ensure that the existing ones are sustained," PM Skerrit said on Sunday. "One of the critical points is the maintenance of employment. Usually, in this period, governments all over the world would want to see how they can go about reducing expenditure, and you would first start with non-legal obligations. If you have public officers who are not appointed or were on a temporary basis, it is easy to send them home as a means of reducing the wage bill. But my view on that way of government is that we have to try in this period to maintain the dignity of every individual and, as far as practical and possible, to allow people to take home a wage, to be able to have food on the table for their families."
"We've maintained employment levels," the Prime Minister noted. "We also maintained the NEP; the NEP is about 3.7 million dollars every month. We could have easily taken a Cabinet decision and cancelled this altogether and saved us 3.7 million every month. But we also understand how important the NEP is to those who are in the Programme, but also the benefit to the economy of Dominica."
A 2019 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that, since the launch of the NEP in 2013, the government increased its investment into the scheme nearly twelvefold. CBI contributions so far financially supported 3,896 interns and 4,500 businesses. Employment is one of many areas Dominica's Citizenship by Investment Programme funds.
A key economic pillar, Dominica's Programme stands as the best in the world, according to the past four annual editions of the CBI Index, issued by PWM — a publication from the Financial Times. Dominica achieved this by focusing on streamlining its processes and maximising its due diligence checks, allowing only thoroughly vetted investors to obtain its valuable citizenship. Once approved-in-principle, investors can either contribute US$100,000 or more to a government fund, or buy into pre-approved hotels and resorts, starting at US$200,000. Recently, Dominica expanded the definition of CBI dependants, allowing more family members to qualify for citizenship, including post-application.
SOURCE CS Global Partners