Students struggling to finance loans with the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB) in the wake of COVID-19 and its effects on the economy will get a three-month reprieve on repayment ending in June.
Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke announced yesterday that the SLB will waive late fees for the period April to June and also defer all loans in repayment, both principal and interest, over the same period.
“This will not result in losses to the SLB, but the timing difference of payments will have a cash-flow impact on the SLB which can be easily absorbed by the reserves of the SLB,” Clarke explained while closing the Budget Debate in Parliament.
The SLB has already extended the moratorium period for borrowers who now have 14 months to begin payment after graduation instead of the six months that existed before.
The finance minister also acknowledged the efforts of some financial institutions that have already engaged their personal and business customers to defer principal payments, restructure loans and waive fees.
“This is good and needs to continue,” he asserted.
Turning to the mandate of Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), Clarke said that the agency would facilitate the issuing of one-off or single-use tax compliance certificates to businesses that might be non-compliant over the period to June 30.
“There will be no new summonses issued, court proceedings, or enforcement action for non-compliance until after June 30,” he said.
However, he said that reminders and notices would continue to be generated.
With regard to thousands of government pensioners who receive their pension payments electronically each month, the Government is suspending the requirement for life certificates as at April 20, 2020, for payment in June.
“That payment in June will be made automatically on the basis of the last life certificate on hand without the need for a renewal in April,” the finance minister added.