COVID-19 and the World of Work

1,045 informal sector workers and entrepreneurs supported to access COVID-19 grants

The ILO in collaboration with its Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV) provided technical assistance to the Tonga Public Service association (PSA) to support informal sector workers and entrepreneurs in the creative and agriculture sector access the government grants.

Project documentation | 30 May 2021
Contact(s): bernard@ilo.org
In March 2021, the Government of Tonga announced its Phase 3 COVID-19 Assistance, which includesd grants for business recovery support targeting informal sector businesses and redundant workers.

The Informal Economies Recovery Project saw this as a strategic opportunity to align its priorities relating to enhancing Business Development Services (BDS) and organizing informal setor workers and micro enterprises, to Government’s COVID-19 Assistance.

The ILO in collaboration with its Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV) provided technical assistance to the Tonga Public Service association (PSA) to support informal sector workers and entrepreneurs in the creative and agriculture sector access the government grants.

“I can confirm that a total of 1,045 creative and agriculture workers and entrepreneurs applications have been supported by the project”, said Ms Mele Amanaki, the General Secretary of the Tonga PSA. She added that the support included informing them of the announcement by Government, providing them specific details of what they can apply for and providing advice, equipment and space to complete their applications with necessary supporting documentation and importantly to meet the deadline. She further stated, “the value adding the project provided, compared to the previous government support where not many were informed and applied, we provided them with direct access to the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)”.

The Ministry of Trade and Economic Development has confirmed to the project that a total of 6,800 applications have been received from the informal setor. They consider this as a significant increase compared to the 2020 baseline, established by the ILO supported and Government lead Rapid Assessment (RA) on the impact of COVID-19 on business and employment in Tonga. The project through is BDS component, is creating synergies with the Ministry to support the successful applicants access business training, advisory services and mentoring.

The next edition of the project e-newsletter will cover stories of successful recipients of the grant and how they plan to use them to achieve better outcomes for them and their families.