The Gleaner, Jamaica: WESTERN BUREAU – Economist and senator Dr André Haughton says the Government’s COVID-19 care packages will not be sufficient to address the fallout from the pandemic, should the spread of the deadly virus continue throughout the summer into the end of the calendar year.

The Government has allocated J$10 billion in contingency funding to assist workers and businesses affected by COVID-19. Payments under the compensation programme, which will benefit nine different categories of workers, will last for three months, ending in June.

“By just giving people extra cash one time, if the crisis continues all the way to the end of the year, then the compensation packages that we have put aside to pay people up until June, it’s not going to be sufficient,” said Haughton, who lectures in the Department of Economics at The University of the West Indies (UWI).

“If you approach it from the demand side, where you give people more money to purchase more goods, if you just do it from a demand side without increasing the level of supply, what you’ll have is that too much money chasing too few goods and you will see an increase in prices,” argued Haughton, who was addressing a virtual forum staged by the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and The UWI, Mona, Western Jamaica Campus.

According to Haughton, who is also a member of the People’s National Party, governments around the world are looking to ease the COVID-19 health crisis with benevolence. “We are facing a healthcare crisis, a lot of people now are losing their jobs and don’t have any money to purchase anything. Government is providing compensation to different groups of people, different employers, students, from a benevolent point of view,” noted Haughton.

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