Several private sector businesses were severely affected by the hurricane

Minister for Commerce, Enterprise and Small Business Development, Roselyn Paul, has said the private sector needs some $514-million to recover following the passage of Hurricane Maria.

She said at a press conference on Monday that the sum showed the sector was significantly affected by the disaster.

“The private sector, small businesses in Dominica, was significantly affected, as most of us imagined, by the passing of Hurricane Maria and so the full cost of recovery is some $514-million of which the vast majority, 97 percent can be applied to reconstruction with resilience for that sector,” she stated. “The remainder, some $11-million, is for the human recovery needs for that sector.”

She stated that damages suffered by the sector amounted to EC$495-million and “another EC$20-million in change in flows of loss of this sector.”

“So it is very fitting that we at the ministry express our solidarity with the private sector, the various enterprises, for the loss of property, even loss of family members, some of our clients, a few have lost family members and we stand in solidarity, we empathize with this situation,” she stated.

She noted that there has been a loss of income, employment, and business but as a people there is hope for recovery and the government has already put mechanisms in place to assist.

“The government has already put in mechanisms in place towards recovery and you would realize that, that the government has already put in place duty free concessions, the waiver of VAT on building material and other relevant supplies as we move towards recovery and which would benefit the sector,” Paul pointed out.

She stated that staff of her ministry has been on the ground doing assessment of the damages, the loss of business and the impact on the business sector.

“And we have also been in dialogue with private sector representatives, looking at the issues, speaking to the issues and seeking recommendations to be implemented for rebuilding and recovery,” she noted.

She called on the private sector to rebuild with resilience,

“This means, for example, that we are to as much as possible adhere to the building codes,” Paul said.