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
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.