49% of businesses receives SBG package
Compiled by Jason Abel
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MOFEM) has confirmed that a total of 5,239 applicants have received their stimulus packages as part of the government’s Small Business Grant (SBG).
According to a press statement, to date they have just paid approximately 49.3% of the applications received, a total of 2, 584 applicants.
It comes as there were few concerns among the public arena into the payments of the government’s SBG for businesses in Efate and its offshore islands.
MOFEM, through the Department of Finance Treasury, clarified that few businesses who had not received their SBG packages were due to few issues which had delayed their payment rollout effectively.
The issues applicants failed to address are Authorization letters, Business Licenses that are not qualified after cut of period eligible to apply, Business Licenses submitted with their application are not stamped by issuing Officer, No Bank Confirmation Letter or Bank Account issues, Different Business License Number in Database that was submitted, Duplicate Business License Numbers.
Issues identified also include no supporting documents attached to SBG Application Form, Business License Details provided are not on our Database, Date of Issue not stated on Business License submitted with applicants, Due to unverified Bank Account Details resulting in return payments, Delay in Revalidation of Business License from Penama,Torba, Tafea, Sanma and Malampa which slows down the assessment of applications.
For the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS), Payment to employers will only be approved upon receipt of the VNPF payment declaration for each month to VNPF by employers.
It is the only reason why payments to some businesses are very late.
Regarding Efate businesses, DOFT confirmed that businesses who have applied for the SBG under the North Efate Area Council is 58. It added that 54 of those businesses have been paid, four on requisition, three duplicates, and one on checklist.
DOFT stated that all business applications were recorded according to their area councils.
According to DOFT, there are 48% of businesses under the Sikotau Association who have accessed the SBG stimulus package. DOFT mentioned that the figure is only for one association and is not for the whole island of Ifira.
DOFT mentioned that there are 176 businesses under the Sikotau association, with 85 businesses already paid roughly an amount of VT10,200,000. It added that there are 91 businesses that have issues with their application especially with duplications which the department is currently working with the licensing authority of Shefa Provincial Government council to sort out.
“The number of businesses we make reference to is the number of businesses who are registered business and have submitted their applications for the Small Business Grant. There are three associations registered under Ifira.
One association for Ifira Island and the other two associations registered under Ifira for handicraft businesses from Ifira, living under the Tanvasoko area council. Those are handicraft associations, who have submitted their applications as an association,” MOFEM stated.
“They are paid VT120,000 each, VT15,000 for 8 months as detailed in the Small Business Grant eligibility criteria. The Government is to pay 15,000 to business under this scheme individually to one bank account, according to their bank confirmation letter, authorization letter submitted in their application form.
The DOFT will not receive clients from December 23 2021 to January 3, 2022. Office hours will resume on January 5, 2022.
DOFT stated that during this down time they will continue to assess applications and make payments.