Trinidad and Tobago has signed loan agreement to access US$24.45 million (TT$166 million) from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to help meet rising costs of covid19 pandemic relief for the most vulnerable in society, according to the Planning and Development ministry.
“The programme will see US$24.45 million deployed in the urgent execution of covid19 management measures geared towards ensuring minimum levels of quality of life for vulnerable persons amid the crisis caused by the pandemic,” a release on Friday said.
The agreement was signed on Tuesday by Acting Planning and Development Minister Allyson West and IDB president Maurico Claver-Carone.
Two major areas to be addressed, the release said, are the protection using existing cash transfer programmes and the protection for the vulnerable population not on the rosters of transfer programmes who work in the informal sector.
It added that this would be done in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, which will execute the Support for Vulnerable Populations Affected by Coronavirus in Trinidad and Tobago programme over a two-year period.
The first phase will seek to provide expansion or additional emergency cash transfer to the Food Support Programme, senior citizen pension and disability assistance grant.
The fund would also accommodate the temporary expansion of the Food Support Programme for households who depended on work from the informal sector after and were affected March 1.
According to West, "This agreement will support minimum income for those affected by the coronavirus in the immediate period and during the recovery.
“The agreement does not see TT taking on additional debt but instead redirects existing uncommitted loan resources to new and urgent high priority public investment areas that require financing during this critical period.”
Claver-Carone said the organisation will continue to support TT with digitisation, small businesses affected by the pandemic, climate finance and the role of women in the economy.