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IT system changes behind isolation income support delays: Metcalfe

Friday 18 March 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Local, National

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IT system changes behind isolation income support  delays: Metcalfe
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The delay in getting Government’s isolation income support operational has been attributed to IT system changes.

Cook Islands News contacted Financial Secretary Garth Henderson with questions relating to delays in isolation income on Wednesday and was referred to macroeconomist Tristan Metcalfe who said he would reply when he had an opportunity.

On Thursday Metcalfe said developers were making changes to the IT system.

“To make changes to the IT system used (which is the CINSF Te Roro system) it takes time for the developers to work through the necessary adjustments and test them to iron out any bugs.

“The team of developers are working hard on getting this ready to go, the delays will not affect any eligibility for people.”

In an earlier statement, MFEM said delays would not affect the eligibility of anyone for the support, “just the timing of being able to apply”.

It said applications would be available from April 1, unless an announcement is made for an earlier date.

“Unfortunately, for those businesses that have already submitted applications through the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund (CINSF) isolation income portal, you will need to resubmit once the portal has been reopened.”

The support is for registered businesses on behalf of employees which includes registered self-employed and sole traders. It excludes those already on a subsidy.

Concerns have been raised for smaller businesses in the community, those who only employ a few staff members and, in some instances, have to “close shop” completely due to isolation needs.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Rebecca Tavioni told Cook Islands News that some employers are tackling additional business challenges head on, but the halt in income paired with the delay in isolation support will first be felt by employees.