Positive report from SOAB for SSRP income, unemployment programs
September 29, 2020 4:55 am~ All persons registered received assistance ~ PHILIPSBURG – The Government’s accounting Bureau (SOAB) has returned a positive report to Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion on the St. Maarten Stimulus and Relief Program (SSRP - income and unemployment support programs for April, May, and June 2020), providing a clear indication that the programs initiated by Minister Irion are functioning and being managed properly. The programs were put in place to locally absorb, as best possible, the unexpected economic and social shock delivered to world economies by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The purpose was to provide financial assistance to businesses that are severely affected and to create a social safety net for citizens who risked losing their jobs. The income support program includes income support to sole proprietors, vendor license holders, independent bus, and taxi drivers who are facing revenue losses due to COVID-19. The SOAB was tasked by Minister Irion to verify if the administration, internal review, and payments of the programs by the St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) were executed in accordance with the specific articles of the Ministerial Degree related to this government initiative. To complete its objective as assigned by the Minister, SOAB had to undertake several administrative actions including, but not limited to:
- Determining if all persons that have received income and unemployment support, received the amount of NAf 1, 150, their eligibility, documents submitted, etc.
- Determine if rejected applicants for support were indeed denied due to non-compliance of requirements.
- Determine if SMDF used and applied stipulated criteria.
- Assess SMDF manner of disbursement of funds from the programs, etc.
- If separate bank accounts were created and maintained for both programs
- If communication with applicants was thorough and detailed with relevant information.