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Niue Premier Tagelagi has confirmed to BCN news government will cease wage subsidy programme for the private sector at the end of this month.
Government sources say that just over $2.4 million (US$1.7 million) was spent on the wage subsidies for 193 employees of 85 businesses on the island since May last year.
The Chamber of Commerce last week informed the businesses that are receiving the government’s wage subsidy that the government will be ceasing this wage subsidy programme at the end of the February.
In a statement to the businesses, Catherine Papani said “The importance of the government’s wage subsidy has enabled employees of businesses to keep a steady form of income for their families and to be able to contribute to supporting businesses that are able to still remain open to the locals”.
Premier Dalton Tagelagi told BCN news last week that he as the Minister responsible for private sector development has requested a report from the Chamber of Commerce to consider options going forward.
He said the funding for the wage subsidies was initially endorsed by Cabinet for up to December last year, but they have allowed the business community extra support until the end of February.
It’s understood that the Niue Chamber of Commerce board and the Niue Tourism board are holding meetings to present options for the government to consider.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, Niue closed its borders to all foreigners and tourism came to a standstill.
The flagship tourist resort Scenic Matavai closed its doors last year but have from time to time opened its conference venue for events. Last weekend the resort hosted a full house of local guests and diners for Valentines weekend.
According to Papani’s communication to the business community, “These are unprecedented times and again the only certainty is the uncertainty of how long this will last”.
She asked businesses to take a long hard look at their business operations and how they can operate without the government’s wage subsidies.
SOURCE: TV NIUE/PACNEWS
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