The new Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) Online portal will be finally launched this week.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made this announcement in his weekly statement.

Sogavare says a comprehensive software underpinning this online portal has been completed and members of the public will be able to view the ESP recipient list and other information posted on the online database after the launch later in the week.

“It was pleasing to note that many successful recipients from the Economic Stimulus Package have signed their ESP project offer last week”, Sogavare says.

However, he says all project payments will be suspended at the end of this week and will resume in mid-January 2021.

“Fellow citizens, I emphasise that the Government is fully committed to the accountable implementation of the Economic Stimulus Package to ensure it meets the interest and wellbeing of our people while also contributing to national stability and economic empowerment”, Sogavare says.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Mckinnie Dentana in the recent radio talkback show says they might not be issuing payments this week because of the Christmas season.

He says the government is worried recipients might not use the funds for its intended purpose.

The ESP online portal should have been launched on Friday 11th December.

“Unfortunately, our officials have been engaged in a government caucus meeting so we do not have the time to launch the software last Friday” Dentana says.

The Covid-19 ESP was approved by cabinet to address the negative economic impact created by the coronavirus pandemic on the local economy.

The primary objective of the ESP is to assist the productive sector players to maintain production output at all levels of the production chain. This is to ensure the local economy remains afloat during these challenging times.

The ESP has three overarching guiding principles including:

1. Quick economic return, which means the applicant’s proposed activity for funding should have a quick turnaround preferably not more than six months.

2. Significant impact to the rural and national economy by encouraging income generating activities and employment. This means the proposed activity should enjoy a good number of people and contributes hugely to the national economy through taxes, business licenses and growth in manpower resources.

3. Platform for long term economic recovery post covid-19 which sets the foundation for multiplier effect from economic activity, investment, and growth.