Money
JM | Aug 13, 2022

Taxi operators now receiving Gov’t COVID cash grants

/ Our Today

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A taxi operator manoeuvring a section of New Kingston in Jamaica. (Photo: Become Nomadic AF)

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Taxi operators across Jamaica have started to receive their grants totalling approximately J$90 million, which was promised by the government in April this year.

The money has already dispatched for payment to 3,600 public passenger vehicle (PPV) operators, under the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.

Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke, who made the announcement, explained that the allocations have been sent to LASCO Financial Services Limited, through which the payments will be disbursed.

He advised that once LASCO gets the payment details, notification texts will be sent to the beneficiaries, who will receive J$25,000 each.

According to Clarke, “I’m expecting it to happen this week, if not [by] Monday. The taxi [and PPV] operators, the 3,600 of them, can [then] go to their LASCO Financial outlet and collect their $25,000.”

Speaking during the August 11 launch of the Development Bank of Jamaica’s (DBJ) J$700-million entertainment and transport loan facilities for stakeholders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at the AC Marriott Kingston Hotel, Clarke disclosed that the Government has revised the date by which applicants must have a valid road licence.

Date revision

The date has been revised to August 31, 2022, and was done to enable more transport operators to access the provision. He informed that when the facility was launched, there was a requirement for qualified applicants to have a valid Transport Authority road licence issued no later than April 30.

“Now, there are some taxi operators who paid up a little bit after April 30 or, in some instances, they actually went in before. But when they got the printout of their licence, the date [was] in May, due to no fault of their own,” Dr Clarke said.

For that reason, he argued that “a policy change has been made to say if you have your licence paid up by August 31 of this year… you will also qualify for this $25,000 transport grant.”

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, addressing the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) Entertainment and Transport Sector Loans launch at the AC Marriott Kingston Hotel, on Thursday (August 11, 2022). (Photo: JIS)

The expectation is that this revision will open up the opportunity to thousands more taxi, PPV licensees and contract carriage operators.

“I want to encourage – as I know [Transport and Mining] Minister [Audley] Shaw has been doing – all contract carriage operators, all taxi operators, to avail yourselves of this opportunity. It has been budgeted for, it has been provided for, and we don’t want to take the money back to the Consolidated Fund,” Clarke pleaded.

The minister invited transport operators who have not yet applied, to visit the CARE website on the Finance Ministry’s platform and fill out the application form as “there’s a $25,000 grant available to all taxi and PPV operators whose licences [are] printed and dated prior to August 31. It will take you one minute to fill out the form.”

Once you have filled out your details – name, taxpayer registration number (TRN), and licence number from the Transport Authority, taxi operators will be eligible for a J$25,000 grant for the Government of Jamaica.

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