PRESIDENT of the Co-Operative Credit Union League Joseph Remy has called for the Government to establish a technical assistance fund for retraining of people during covid19.
"We need it now more than ever. Because of the impact of covid19 on the employment relationship with a lot of our members, we believe that this fund is more than necessary now. Because we are talking about developmental opportunities for retrenched members resulting from the impact of covid19.
"That will necessitate new skills and training, particularly where the Government thrust is to have a digitalised economy."
He said the league will be very strong in advocating for the fund and expressed hope there would be an allocation towards it.
"Because it is not a 'giveaway' kind of situation. It is an investment for the future and development of the country's economy."
He was speaking during the league's virtual pre-budget forum on Friday.
He said the league usually participates in a post-budget discussion with the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union, but it was felt there was a vacuum in pre-budget deliberations.
"As the umbrella body for the credit union movement, and with the background of covid19, the role of the movement is to act as a buffer for the members and the citizenry. We hope our voices will be heard and resonate enough to have some input (in the upcoming budget)."
Remy said this budget would be challenging for anyone to deliver, with the diminishing returns from covid19, and the credit union movement has an important role to play.
He pointed out that from since 2014, successive budget presentations have mentioned credit union legislation but the league was still waiting to see it implemented. He said some of the measures the league was awaiting included: being able to pay utility bills at credit unions; strengthening of the Co-Operative Development Division; allowing credit unions to encash government cheques; and enabling credit unions to assign members' salaries, pensions or superannuation benefits, particularly from government agencies.
Former finance minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira said Government needed to carefully start reopening the economy.
"Government cannot provide support for a complete shutdown again."
Chief operating officer of the league Dianne Joseph said the league agreed with the call to reopen the economy. She added if Government continued to keep the economy as tight as it is, the country will have challenges.