Beneficiary receiving 1.8m payment at time, inside one of the hotel
By: Amara Kargbo
The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs (MTCA), together with Ministry of Finance has over the weekend commenced cash payment of the Social Safety Net Support to touristic affectedestablishment businesses and employees, at the Radisson Blu Mammy Hotel, Freetown.
Dr. Memunatu Baby Pratt, Minister of MTCA noted that, this project was spearheaded under the Quick Economic Response Programme (QUERK), through finance ministry to provide livelihood for employees businesses in the tourism sector.
She pointed that the tourism sectors were the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,globally, these personnel working within these hotels, night clubs, restaurants, guest houses, bars, travel agencies, and others depend on touristicactivities for economic growth, but with the three months minimum wage will magnificently upkeep them diversely.
Minister Memunatu underlined that, the scheme was only captured those who summited the names of their staff to the Hotel and tourism Association and the National Tourist Board.
The process was monitored by numerous protocols including Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) and others from different spectrums to ensure that transparency is envisaged.
The two thousand three hundred and sixty six (2,366) workers tend to benefit country-wide.
The disbursement commenced at the touristicdensely populated area in Aberdeen, each beneficiary received one million eight hundred thousand Leones (Le, 1, 800,000) each, a minimum wage of three months payment.
John Shallop, National President for the Sierra Leone Association of Hotels, described that, the scheme was gesture which will help the staff a most, because a huge number of them had been constraining for months to sustain their families, and it hasalso reduced the burden of salary that touristic establishment do pay, he thanked the president in his wisdom to leverage the most affected ministry by VOVID-19.
Regiatu Melvina Conteh, Abu Bakarr Mohamed Jalloh, Joanette. A Kanu all working in the Radisson Blu Hotel, impatiently thanked government for considering them at a time this, over three months now, they have not been receiving similar fund since coronavirus struck the country.
Dr. Pratt measured that, they were challenged at the preliminary stages, reactions of employees were not encouraging;people were thinking that the process was a witch-hunt, and may be they only want entice them, so once they get them, then the ministry can invoke the lawagainst them.
Presently, there a lot of these touristic establishment that are not paying minimum wage, not meeting their NAASIT obligations, while other did not trust the process so they treated the information with flippancy, those that responded have started receiving benefits, said minister.