The Ministry of Economic Development has observed a major surge in the number of applications for the government’s stimulus package for individuals and households affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking on RaajjeTV’s ‘Fala Surukhee’ programme, the ministry’s Consultant and Project Director of Income Support Project, Shuhad Ibrahim revealed that a total of 77,000 individuals have applied for income support allowances thus far.
In the first phase since the opportunity to apply was opened, the ministry received over 17,800 applications and since the second phase was opened, over 17,700 individuals applied in July alone.
Shuhad highlighted that 21,800 applications were received in August and that currently open applications for September have already reached 19,600 applications.
Individuals may apply for income support allowances for the month of September, before October 31.
78 percent of the total applicants had applied for the income support allowances during the second phase, said Shuhad, who stressed that the numbers have increased more than anticipated, due to misinterpreted losses caused by the ongoing pandemic.
The increase in applicants could also be caused by the assistance being provided by media, councils, different organizations and others.
Very recently, the regulations for the stimulus package were amended in a way that will pave way for more applicants through the Job Center, online.
The second phase of applications was opened on August 9 for the months of July, August and September.
By October 15, the Ministry of Finance disbursed MVR 106 million to 9,989 out of the 25,030 applications by then.
Introduced under the government’s economic relief package following the impacts of the pandemic, the income support allowance is being issued since May 20 and a monthly income of MVR 5,000 is provided under specific conditions.
The goal of the economic relief package was to ensure job continuity for Maldivians, at a time large-scale terminations and wage cuts have taken place. Those who have been terminated, put on no-pay leave or suspended from their jobs are eligible for the allowance. This includes individuals in probation and temporary positions, these individuals will receive an allowance of MVR 5,000 for the nine-month period. Recently, authorities decided to continue issuing income support allowances until the end of the ongoing year. A total of MVR 45,000 is awarded under the nine-month allowance, between April to December.