Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.

Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.

Employment-related measures

(e.g. state compensation schemes, training…)

  • NIS Deferral -Employers who are retaining more than [three quarters/two-thirds] of their staff complement will be able to defer the employer’s contributions to the NIS for the next three months in the first instance, with another three months if necessary.

Economic stimulus measures

(e.g. loans, moratorium on debt repayments…)

  • Bank Financing -All banks have agreed to provide temporary working-capital financing options for corporate and small businesses directly impacted by COVID-19.
  • Fast track a number of government capital projects already funded by the Caribbean Development Bank:
    • The $6.5 million, Speights town Flood Mitigation Project
    • The $10.2 million Constitution River Flood Mitigation Project, and
    • The Fairchild Street, rehabilitation project ($4.6 million).
  • Carry out much needed repairs on selected government buildings at a cost of $20 million.
  • Carry out repairs to the Industrial Development Complex buildings which house mechanics and entrepreneurs at a cost of $10 million.
  • Support and facilitate the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) and Barbados Light and Power Company Limited (BL&P) in engaging in a hedging exercise to lock in the currently low oil price for a period of up to two years.
  • Financing - Banks to offer up to 6-month moratorium on loan and mortgage payments and Temporary working-capital financing options for corporations and small businesses directly impacted by COVID-19.
  • Social Security Deferral – Deferral of employer’s contributions to the NIS for  employers retaining more than 2/3 of staff complement; Government will provide supplemental support to the NIS Unemployment Fund as needed and within the context of available fiscal space;  Laid off workers to receive benefits for 6 months and those on short weeks to receive 60% for the days they are not working .
  • Welfare Support – Government, through the welfare department, to provide minimum income of an amount up to USD300 per month to households where no person is left employed as a result of COVID-19;
  • Adopt-a-Family Program – Government working with persons earning more than USD50,000 per year to adopt a vulnerable family and provide them with USD300 per month or contribute to an Adopt-a-family fund chaired by the Director of Finance;
  • Household Survival Program –Implement a Household Survival Program (injecting USD10 million) consisting of three initiatives to assist displaced workers. Those being laid off are entitles to unemployment benefits.
  • Infrastructure - The Government also aims to boost priority capital spending help to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the economy. This includes infrastructure investment to renovate healthcare facilities, schools, government buildings, and a key industrial complex.

Other measures and sources

  • A USD 108 million Jobs, Investment and Business Survival program-Government is engaged with the private sector on a major Jobs, Investment and Business Survival program which will aim to:
  • Facilitate businesses to use the pause in activity to up skill and invest to come back stronger
  • Encourage banks to defer loan payments for businesses that get into short-term difficulty as a result of COVID-19; and
  • Ensure the early start, resumption or continuation of up to $1 billion of private sector investments.
  • A USD100 million Tourism Fund Facility is being established to provide urgent working capital and investment loans for the upgrade of Barbadian hotels.
  • A USD 20 million VAT Loan Fund will be established for companies who registered to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) and can prove that their cash flow was severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have implemented measures to contain the outbreak.
  • A USD 10 million Small Business Wage Fund will be established for firms too small to be eligible for VAT or VAT refunds to help them cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 environment.
  • USD 137 million will be spent in the capital works program on the refurbishment of buildings, road construction, market refurbishment, an environmental clean-up and sanitization program and digitization.
  • A USD 25 million will be spent on an expanded capital works program to be undertaken by the Barbados Water Authority which will see a number of critical water projects undertaken and completed.
  • The Green and Digital Investment Fund will be made available to tourism firms, small businesses and manufacturing and agricultural enterprises to aid in their transformation to greener and more digitized business processes.

Contact us

Tax: Louisa Lewis-Ward –
Restructuring: Craig Waterman –

Recovery Plan Overview

  • Recovery plan : Barbados Employment and Sustainable Transformation (BEST) Plan
  • Budget : USD 150 million
  • Announcement : September 2020
  • Main orientations : Tourism

Main measures

Revival of the Tourism Sector

  • The BEST Plan is a scheme for hotels and tourism facilities to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on these entities. The funds under the plan will primarily be distributed through investment in the companies by way of a class of shares that mirrors preference shares, and there will be some limited opportunities for grants. The resources will be available to the extent that tourism numbers and revenues remain below the levels required for the survival of the sector; and that firms adhere to certain conditions.

Key measures and conditions

  • Government will invest in tourism firms which will enable these entities to re-engage all of their workers on 80 per cent of their normal salary for up to two years, should the need arise.
  • A transformation of the tourism sector is required by committing to greening through water conservation and water harvesting measures where applicable, and the installation of renewable energy capacity, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  • A review of processes, payments and systems is required to ensure the firms’ suitability in today’s world and where necessary, to undertake a digitization of the same.
  • An upskilling of workers is necessary - training will be provided by the National Training Initiative to workers in the areas needed for their specific jobs, and also for softer skills that will be provided through citizenship education.

Sectors/Industries/Areas affected

  • Renewable energy, direct and indirect tourism services, entertainment and culture, agriculture, water conservation, technology