By Caribbean News Global contributor
ROSEAU, Dominica – The Commonwealth of Dominica is increasing its social safety-nets programmes, and measures to maintain employment for economic viability and the betterment of citizens’ livelihoods, impacted by COVID-19, with revenues from Citizenship by Investment (CBI).
On October 4, prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit explained that throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, the government maintained the National Employment Programme (NEP) costing the government EC$3.7 million per month. The scheme helps young people secure internships and jobs, advance their skills, increase human capacity, benefit local communities, and support long-term economic growth. Revenues from Dominica’s successful CBI programme fund the NEP.
“We have ramped up our social safety net programmes that ensure that the existing ones are sustained,” prime minister Skerrit said last Sunday. “One of the critical points is the maintenance of employment. Usually, in this period, governments all over the world would want to see how they can go about reducing expenditure, and you would first start with non-legal obligations. If you have public officers who are not appointed or were on a temporary basis, it is easy to send them home as a means of reducing the wage bill. But my view on that way of government is that we have to try in this period to maintain the dignity of every individual and, as far as practical and possible, to allow people to take home a wage, to be able to have food on the table for their families,” he continued.
“We’ve maintained employment levels,” the prime minister added, and “the NEP at about $3.7 million every month. We could have easily taken a Cabinet decision and cancelled this altogether and saved $3.7 million every month. But we also understand how important the NEP is to those who are in the programme, and the benefit to the economy of Dominica.”
Further, Dominica’s CBI programme funds is one of many areas supporting employment and economic development. CBI contributions have to date supported 3,896 interns and 4,500 businesses. Meanwhile, Housing Dominica continues to deliver under CBI programme, the government of Dominica plans to construct 600 homes under the Dominica Housing Recovery Project, scheduled to be completed by 2023.
Recently, Dominica expanded the definition of CBI dependants and introduced five major changes to its world-leading Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, that relates to family members that can qualify for second citizenship, in light of the ongoing uncertainty caused by the global pandemic.
Included in this new policy, “Dominica reduced the qualifying fund contribution for a family of four from US$200,000 to US$175,000, comprising the main applicant, their spouse and two dependants other than a sibling.”
Dominica’s programme stands as the best in the world, according to the past four annual editions of the CBI Index, issued by PWM — a publication from the Financial Times.