Wed | Oct 21, 2020

Grenada suspends payment of allowances in civil service amid COVID fallout

Published:Tuesday | September 29, 2020 | 11:36 AM
Contributed photo

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – The Grenada government has with immediate effect temporarily suspended the payment of responsibility and duty allowances as well as honorarium to public servants as it continues to review the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the island.

According to an official circular from the Department of Public Administration (DPA), it says it is aware that ministries and government departments are sometimes limited in their human resource capacity “and will occasionally require officers to perform additional duties in conjunction with those of their substantive post, or specific duties not directly related to their substantive post.

“However, ministries/departments will appreciate that the economic impact brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled organisations everywhere to immediately review and modify their strategies and reallocate resources to meet financial and organisational objectives,” the circular noted.

It said that “in light of this, senior government officials are highly encouraged to review their operations with a view to streamline same and maximise the performance of all officers.

“Ministries/departments are further encouraged to engage the DPA should the exigencies of the service require alternative arrangements to be made to support service delivery,” the circular said, with the DPA promising that it “will endeavour to bring speedy closure to all outstanding matters of this nature resting with us.”

In May, Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, said the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had significantly impacted economic growth in Grenada, even as he had remained optimistic that the phased re-opening of the economy will help negate the situation.

Mitchell said then that revenue intake for April, for example, had been reduced drastically, but investor confidence in the island remained high, even as the government maintained that the country’s borders would remain closed as part of the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Mitchell said that from projections for an eighth consecutive year of growth, the government is now facing the “stark reality of negative growth, triggered largely by the significant impact on tourism, construction and education.

“This has resulted in a drastic decline in government revenue. In April, for example, the combined revenue collection by the Customs and Internal Revenue Division dropped by about EC$30 compared to that of 2019; a decline likely to be replicated across our main revenue-generating departments over the next few months.”

He said that the government is, therefore, utilising its reserves and seeking international help to finance any deficits and bring relief to citizens, while continuing the fight against the deadly virus.

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